Queensland's Citizen Science Hub

Geoff Edwards

The Copyright Agency’s Reading Australia portal by March 2021 was presenting 224 freely-available resources to assist with the teaching of books by Australian writers. Originally launched in 2013 to showcase Australia’s rich literary heritage and encourage more people to read Australian literature, Reading Australia has become a valuable asset for teachers looking to introduce homegrown titles into the classroom.

By March 2021, the number of subscribers reached 21,000 – 85% of whom are teachers, librarians and teacher librarians.

“Australian stories – in their diversity and vitality – reveal who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going,” says Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling. There are now 90 primary and 134 secondary resources, spanning Foundation to Year 12 and linking closely to the Australian curriculum and cross-curriculum priorities.

“English teachers, their schools and their curriculum authorities have become far more aware and responsive to the Australian literature landscape and are increasingly including more Australian texts into their reading and study programs,” says Phil Page from the Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE). “We are now seeing more inclusive local and state-based curricula and a broadening of the content of prescribed or recommended text lists.”

Three webinars organised by the Royal Societies of Australia (with the involvement of The Royal Society of Queensland) were stimulating events giving plenty of food for thought. The public is encouraged to watch the events on the QSN Facebook page.

This series of three virtual events represented a collaboration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, industry practitioners, thinkers and the Royal Societies of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales with support from the CSIRO. ‘Country’ is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander term used widely with strong connections to community,  culture, identity, and language. ‘Stewardship’ describes a deep and custodial relationship between people and place.

The organisers intend to summarise the presentations and discussion and compile a synthesis submission to policy-makers. Also, the Royal Society of Victoria intends to publish the submitted papers in a special issue of its journal.


Australian Dr John Cook has developed a game, Cranky Uncle, to explain global warming and climate denialism. The game is promoted on the site www.skepticalscience.com as a teaching tool, for secondary and tertiary levels. The game is accompanied by a book and a Teachers’ Guide.

The website has a wealth of material on climate change and global warming. The site is tailored towards a popular audience and is authoritative.


By Jodi Rowley Curator, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Biology, Australian Museum

Australia has 240 known species of frog, almost all of which are found nowhere else in the world. Some species are flourishing, like the Striped Marsh Frog. But others have declined dramatically since the 1980s, and four have become extinct.

Croaks, whistles, bleats and barks – every frog species makes a different sound. By recording a frog call with the FrogID app, students will discover which frogs live around them and help us count Australia’s frogs, empowering your students to be citizen scientists.

FrogID is a national citizen science project that is helping us learn more about what is happening to Australia’s frogs. All around the country, people are recording frog calls with nothing more than a smartphone.

With the data obtained through FrogID we are able to track the Cane Toad and identify where frogs are thriving and where they aren’t. And by matching calls to weather and habitat, we are learning more about how different frog species are responding to a changing environment.

Get your class and students involved in FrogID:

  1. Create account & group at FrogID.net.au
  2. Instruct students to create account & join class
  3. Download the FrogID App, Sign In & Record
  4. Check Leaderboard for Results

https://theconversation.com/clicks-bonks-and-dripping-taps-listen-to-the-calls-of-6-frogs-out-and-about-this-summer

The Royal Society of Queensland has published A Rangelands Dialogue: Towards a Sustainable Future , being a Special Issue of the Proceedings of The Royal Society of Queensland. The volume is a compilation of some 26 papers – short communications and opinion pieces –arising from the July 2019 Rangelands Policy Dialogue. The complete volume (43 MB) and the individual articles are available online free of charge. Printed copies may be ordered from the Society, rsocqld AT gmail.com.


Fire and Biodiversity Consortium to expand reach across Queensland

The South East Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium (SEQFBC) has expanded its reach to cover the whole of Queensland. The new name is Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium (QFBC).  

This statewide expansion reflects the increased demand from landholders and stakeholders to receive the high-quality products and services provided by the QFBC. Established in 1998, one of the oldest collaborative fire programs in Australia, the success and value of the QFBC is underscored by the collaborative, tenure-blind approach to fire management. 

The QFBC comprises a network of land managers and stakeholders committed to improving fire and biodiversity management outcomes, supporting and distributing fire ecology research, facilitating partnerships between key stakeholders and building the capacity of land managers and private land owners to address issues of fire management and biodiversity in the South East Queensland (SEQ) region and across Queensland.
  
According to Dr Samantha Lloyd, Manager of QFBC, the focus will remain with current partners, the majority of whom are based in SEQ. “We have a number of state-based partners and requests for our services and resources outside of SEQ continue to increase. … The prospect of engaging with the wider Queensland community will enrich our network and strengthen our support base,” Lloyd said. 

The QFBC is a flagship program of Healthy Land and Water, an independent not-for-profit organisation and the regional delivery body for the federal Government’s National Regional Land Partnerships program.

“One of the key strengths of the QFBC is the number and diversity of partners, who enabled the growth and reach across Queensland. We look forward to working with new stakeholders across Queensland and to help facilitate fire and land management outcomes for the environment and community,” said Julie McLellan, CEO of Healthy Land and Water. 

The first issue of a Newsletter for the Queensland Science Network was published on 7 August 2020. This new initiative is intended partly to showcase the work of the scientific and natural history groups who comprise the Network, and partly to bring items of general scientific interest to the attention of the public.

Download the Newsletter here (2.539 MB). Editor Col Lynam (col.lynam AT gmail.com) welcomes feedback on this Newsletter and items for the next edition.


A new website about some birds of South-East Queensland  www.ourlocalbirds.com looks into their amazing lives via a unique and exciting range of video and still images as well text and audio.

The website www.ourlocalbirds.com has two principal sections: Learning about birds and Teaching about birds and was created by the Bird Education Group of Birds Queensland and Birdlife Southern Queensland.

Learning about birds features 18 birds commonly seen in urban and suburban areas.

Teaching About Birds has been designed for primary age students, their teachers and home educators and aligns with objectives in the Australian Science Curriculum for each year level: 1-6. Videos have been created to illustrate the curriculum focus for each year level. Examples are the video about the Australian White Ibis https://vimeo.com/336966421 for Year 5 students investigating how animals adapt to environments and the video https://vimeo.com/394819136 for Year 6 students studying the extraordinary migratory shorebirds that migrate to the other end of the globe to breed but that live, at least for part of each year, at our urban backdoor in Moreton Bay.


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