Our NatureWatch program, and the program’s original coordinator Caitlin Griffith, reached a major ten year milestone in July.
In 2007 an inspired group of VNPA members and supporters along with Caitlin revamped the VNPA program Park Mates, which involved volunteers monitoring the state’s parks facilities. What they developed was a community-led biodiversity monitoring program to tackle local conservation issues across Victoria – NatureWatch. It’s been a fantastic decade of partnerships, projects, citizen science and conservation!
We would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of those on the original NatureWatch advisory group. And we’re exceptionally grateful for the efforts of all our hard-working, enthusiastic volunteers over the years. In particular, our team leaders and office volunteers who, ultimately, are responsible for keeping the program running.
Caitlin remembers Ann Stokie, from the advisory group, who in one meeting said “what we need is to make sure it is a program that brings together scientists, land managers and community to develop and run projects together. Like a triangle”. She held her hands up in a triangle shape.
We proudly use this model of a triangle to develop our NatureWatch projects.
Using the ‘triangle model’, we’ve:
- Worked closely with several community groups, the Friends of Brisbane Ranges, Friends of the Prom, Wombat Forestcare, Friends of Bunyip State Park, Hindmarsh Landcare Network and others.
- Developed scientifically robust projects with the Arthur Rylah Institute, Eco Insights, Biosis Research, Deakin University and Museums Victoria.
- Had fantastic support from participating land managers, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, City of Whittlesea as well as many private land owners.
What they have to say:
“It’s incredibly inspiring to see the community involved in doing high quality science. The volunteers are enthusiastic and willing to learn and contribute, and I’m always learning something new from locals about their ‘patch’.”
Christine Connelly, current NatureWatch coordinator
“A real highlight of NatureWatch is the potential of bringing together skills from scientists, community groups and land managers to create projects with meaningful outcomes.”
Caitlin Griffith, previous NatureWatch coordinator, current manager of community learning and engagement
“The NatureWatch Caught on Camera project has meant we’ve been able to work together to collect huge amounts of data on mammals. We are excited about developing Communities Listening for Nature in Wombat State Forest too.”
Gayle Osborne, Wombat Forestcare
“Having NatureWatch Grass-tree Monitoring in the Brisbane Ranges National Park helped us understand more about what was happening to grass-trees. In addition it meant that a range of volunteers learnt about dieback disease and how to minimise the spread.”
Des Peters, Parks Victoria