Queensland Museum scientists conducted workshops in North Keppel Island, Mackay, Innisfail, and Torres Strait dedicated to assessing local biodiversity and the effect of human impact using data from insect trapping. These workshops were the final series funded with assistance from the Science Connections Program within the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (SCOPE).
The Queensland Museum Backyard Explorer workshops started with a free full day workshop held at North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre on Monday, 17th October, 2011.
Participants from teachers to local naturalists, council representatives, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and interested community members attended a program that encouraged the region to become more involved in science. Backyard Explorer showed community groups how to complete a survey of their property, work site, even backyard, incorporating scientific examination of habitat, vegetation and wildlife using the techniques museum scientists use in research including identifying any insect finds and interpreting the bio-health of the area.
Field laboratory identifying insects on Goods Island, Torres Strait.
Following the full day workshop on Tuesday the QM team, presented further shorter workshops to schools and communities in Mackay. A special event was conducted for representative students from local schools followed by a community event after school hours. Subsequent full day workshops were conducted in Innisfail (Goondi State School) and Torres Strait (Goods Island near Thursday Island)
Here’s what some of the participants said about the workshops:
Environmental educator: “Thanks for the day, we really enjoyed it and got some more ideas on how to engage with young people to give them a better idea of the interconnectedness of everything.”
Bushwalker: “As a Senior in our country I was very interested in gaining the info to pass on to family, grandkids and my country”
Regional Council officer: “I am keen to start surveys on our rehabilitation sites”
Primary teacher: “Well run – fantastic location and excellent opportunity for knowledge and / or equipment to filter to local schools and community groups.”
The SCOPE funded community and school events conducted in the coastal districts achieved the objective of promoting and developing school and community links among all partners involved: Earth Smart Science, Science Spark (Primary Science Facilitators), Schools, Community members, local land care groups (e.g. Landcare Innisfail, Society to Grow Australian Plants) other Government agencies (Fitzroy River & Coastal Catchments, Terrain Natural Resource Management Group, Torres Strait Land and Sea Management) and the Queensland Museum (including Museum of Tropical Queensland).
Additional photographs and resources from Backyard Explorer community sessions held earlier this year can be accessed from the Queensland Museum Facebook page.