Call for Nature Lovers

Whether you are interested in citizen science, work in the environment space or just love nature – then this event is for you.

The Sunshine Coast Open Data Expo is back at the Doonan Creek Environment Reserve on June 19 and the action-packed program is sure to inspire!

The theme for 2024 – citizen science – will share how researchers across the Sunshine Coast are partnering with citizen scientists to increase scientific knowledge, collect data and share stories on many different topics in our natural environment.

Hear from keynote speaker the acclaimed First Nations author of ‘Sand Talk’ and Right Story, Wrong Story, Tyson Yunkaporta on how story is at the heart of everything and Earthwatch CEO Fiona Sutton Wilson on how global challenges are being tackled at a local level.

Explore the changing soundscapes of ecosystems over the last decade with Dr Leah Barclay from University of the Sunshine Coast.

Discuss how to design accessible citizen science experiences to encourage diverse and inclusive participation from the community with Dr Vikki Schaffer, also from UniSC.

Be given an insight into innovative data loggers for a Native Fauna Nest Box Monitoring project and how it’s helping to uncover previously inaccessible insights into our local wildlife from project lead Steve Milner, from Sunshine Coast Council.

There will also be workshops on mangrove monitoring in the BlueHeart, a new citizen science nestbox monitoring project for Council’s reserves, a ClimateWatch walk through Doonan Creek Environment Reserve plus lots more engaging displays, stalls and conversations.

Working together for the environment

Sunshine Coast Division 9 Councillor Maria Suarez said the event would showcase how Council, industry and our community are working together to nurture and protect our natural environment. 

“Come along to the Sunshine Coast Open Data Expo to discover how listening, observing and recording nature can help you to connect, conserve and care for country,” Cr Suarez said.

“Through engaging discussions, interactive workshops, and hands-on activities, attendees will gain insights into the valuable contribution citizen science initiatives offer to monitoring, preserving and restoring natural ecosystems.

“From digital experiences like Story Maps to smartphone apps for data collection, and learning how the first nations citizen scientists stored and shared data across generations, the event will also showcase the many ways to get involved.

“Citizen science can be an opportunity to explore a passion outside of your day job – so come along and be inspired to be involved in citizen science.”

Book your free ticket to the Sunshine Coast Open Data expo at Sunshine Coast Council’s events website events.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

Event details

Sunshine Coast Open Data Expo

Wednesday June 19, 9am-2pm

Doonan Creek Environment Reserve, 219 Doonan Bridge Rd, Verrierdale

What’s on the program

Keynote speaker: Tyson Yunkaporta – Tyson is an Aboriginal scholar, founder of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab at Deakin University in Melbourne, and author of Sand Talk and Right Story, Wrong Story. Tyson will explore how story is at the heart of everything. But what is right or wrong story? He will explore how we teach and learn, and how we talk to each other to shape forms of collective thinking that are aligned with land and creation.

Speaker: Fiona Sutton Wilson, Earthwatch Australia – Fiona is CEO of Earthwatch Australia, a behaviour change environmental NGO that has worked with communities across Australia to protect our natural world through citizen science since 1982. Fiona will discuss how the major global challenges of this century that face our biosphere – biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change – are being tackled at a local level by the community-science partnerships that Earthwatch forms across Australia, including the Sunshine Coast, and around the world.

Speaker: Dr Leah Barclay, University of the Sunshine Coast – Dr Leah Barclay is the Discipline Lead of Design at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she is co-leading the Creative Ecologies Research Cluster alongside a portfolio of ecoacoustics research. Her work focuses on innovative approaches to recording the soundscapes of diverse ecosystems, fostering conservation and scientific research. Leah will explore the value of listening to ecosystems in community-based acoustic ecology research. The presentation will focus on the interdisciplinary impact and outcomes from a series of projects based on the Sunshine Coast exploring the changing soundscapes of ecosystems over the last decade. This research highlights the necessity of ethical recording practices in community-engaged ecoacoustics projects and the value of interdisciplinary community engagement methods in expanding and enhancing the field.

Speaker: Steve Milner, Sunshine Coast Council – Steve Milner is a Sunshine Coast Council Natural Areas Officer, who specialises in re-constructing and restoring bushland communities. Over the last 10 years, Steve has initiated and developed the ‘Advanced Fauna Habitat Program’ to assist and speed up restoration projects for the benefit of local fauna. Steve will discuss the most recent project within this program, the Native Fauna Nest Box Monitoring Project. He will outline the use of solar powered passive infrared detectors, the critical data they collect and the web-based dashboard and how these systems enable us to uncover previously inaccessible insights.

Speaker: Dr Vikki Schaffer, University of the Sunshine Coast – With a transdisciplinary, collaborative approach in both teaching and research, working with industry, government, and community (SDG17) is essential to Vikki’s research. A passionate citizen scientist, Vikki has explored avenues to increase diverse and inclusive participation in citizen science including tourist scientists, engaging youth (18-25 years) and people with disability. This presentation discusses awareness and training, tools and techniques, for broad inclusion – real and virtual – in fun and interesting ways.

Workshop: MangroveWatch in the Blue Heart with Jock Mackenzie, Earthwatch Australia

Jock Mackenzie will host this engaging citizen science workshop including Saltwater Savers and Mangrove crab camera survey.

Workshop: ClimateWatch Trail Guided Walk with Sunshine Coast Council

Join our ClimateWatch Guide for a fun and educational experience exploring the beautiful reserve as part of the ClimateWatch Trail Guided Walk at the Doonan Creek Environment Reserve. Limited spaces -Registration link above in About this event. Zea will lead you through the reserve, highlighting various plant and animal species as you record data of the seasonal changes of these species. This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature, learn and contribute to citizen science efforts.

Workshop: NatureWatch Sunshine Coast Nest Box Monitoring with Sunshine Coast Council

Join our NatureWatch Guide for an enlightening peak into some of the nest boxes on the Doonan Creek Environment Reserve and join our new nest box monitoring citizen science project at a site near you.

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