Come and see citizen science in action and find out what we need to do to help look after our rivers at a community water testing event, Water!, on Sunday 19 August 10am – 1pm at the Bellinger River, during National Science Week. Participants can get hands-on with water testing in this all ages workshop run by Sue Lennox from OzGREEN.
This family-friendly event will include sharing the findings of the Bellingen Riverwatch citizen science program. Bellingen Riverwatch sees community scientists and the scientific community working together to monitor and care for the health of the Bellinger, Never Never and Kalang Rivers, and help recovery actions to support the critically endangered Bellinger River Turtle Myuchelys georgesi. This program is made possible by it’s amazing team of 25 community volunteers and 5 local schools who have been collecting monthly water quality data at 20 sites across the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers since August 2017.
Citizen science programs such as these push the envelope of what ecologists can achieve and promotes Earth stewardship with participants. “Citizen science connects the community to genuine scientific research and helps contribute to the environment, threatened species conservation, public health and so much more”, says Geetha Ortac, Senior Scientist, Citizen Science Saving our Species, Office of Environment & Heritage, one of the lead partners in the program.
“The health of the Bellinger River is key to the survival of the Bellinger River Turtle”, says OzGREEN Co-founder, Sue Lennox. “OzGREEN is delighted to be partnering with the Office of Environment and Heritage. Riverwatch provides a pathway for the people of Bellingen to get involved. We love our river and rely on the river for our water supplies. We are finding Faecal coliform in parts of the river and anecdotal evidence of water borne diseases. It’s quite concerning.”
OzGREEN is also currently recruiting some new volunteers into the Bellingen Riverwatch ongoing water monitoring program. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Amy on 0455 602 571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water! is a free event brought to you by OzGREEN, the Coffs Coast Regional Science Hub and supported by Inspiring Australia, a national strategy to engage communities with science for a sustainable future. Optionally, if you are using river water for drinking, you can bring a sample of your drinking water for the OzGREEN team to test for Faecal coliform. These bacteria indicate pollution with faeces and potential for disease causing organisms like Giardia and Blastocystis to be present. Bring your sample in a clean sterile container (suggested donation $20 to help cover cost of test).
To find out more or to register for this event, visit www.ozgreen.org/www.ozgreen.org/water.