Water! Workshop informs, connects and inspires ongoing action

Water!, a citizen-science in action community workshop was held during National Science Week on Sunday 19 August on the banks of the Bellinger River in Bellingen.

All participants were keen to see the Riverwatch water testing in action. We conducted hands on activities to test river water for dissolved oxygen, available phosphate, pH, turbidity, temperature, salinity and Faecal coliform. Workshop facilitator, Sue Lennox, explained the significance of each test for river health, human health and the critically endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle Myuchelys georgesi.

A further 8 participants brought in drinking water samples in sterile containers to test for Faecal coliform. Water supplies that came from rain water tanks had no Faecal coliform detected per 100 ml of water. The water from a tributary of the Bellinger River on Darkwood Road had 90 Faecal coliform colony forming units per 100ml of water (Australian standard is zero). This participant reported ongoing problems with gastrointestinal infections in her family and was advised to boil drinking water and research effective water filtration system.

Following the event, 2 people signed up to train as volunteers for the Bellingen Riverwatch program, and have subsequently completed training and are now actively involved.

Bellingen Riverwatch brings together community scientists and the scientific community to support the recovery of the critically endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle Myuchelys georgesi. It is a citizen science project that involves volunteers in testing 20 sites across the Bellinger, Never Never and Kalang River catchments on a monthly basis.

Bellingen Riverwatch is an initiative of OzGREEN and NSW Government Saving Our Species program, supported by Bellingen Shire Council and 11 partner organisations.

SCINEMA Film Festival was a great success

SCINEMA at the North Coast Marine Science Centre was a great success, with more than 80 participants enjoying a selection of amazing science films plus a panel that included indigenous linguist Uncle Michael Jarrett, scientific illustrator Meg English, ecologist Andrew Turbill, and environmental educator Lisa Siegel sharing thoughts on science and art.

Spirit! event a high point of the LeaF Festival

“A special high point of the LeaF Learning Festival was the Spirit of the Land forum at Cedar Bar on Sunday morning where stories of land and spirit were told,” says Lisa Siegel, Spirit host and Coordinator of the Centre for Ecological Learning.
“One person told me afterwards they thought Mark Graham was “the most inspiring scientist” they had ever come across.
“Spirit stories from Uncle Michael Jarrett, Uniting Earth minister Jason John, and Insight Meditation teacher Will James had the entire audience rapt and we have been receiving feedback ever since from people wanting the event to be repeated.”