S2S BioBlitz 2013 - Woomargama, NSW 

6/7/8 September 2013

To view photos from the event on Flickr click here

The 'S2S BioBlitz 2013' in Woomargama was co-ordinated by the Slopes to Summit (S2S) partnership of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative (GER). It was the second BioBlitz that S2S has run, following the Thurgoona BioBlitz held in May last year in partnership with the Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group. S2S is managed by a Working Group consisting of nine organisations – Nature Conservation Trust (Facilitator Host), Charles Sturt University, Murray Catchment Management Authority, Holbrook Landcare Network, Australian National University, Parklands Albury Wodonga, Albury Conservation Company, CSIRO, and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

The event was co-ordinated by a working group of S2S partner representatives – Sam Niedra (Nature Conservation Trust), Kylie Durant (Holbrook Landcare Network), Helen Waudby, Tara Pitman and Stacee Staunton-Latimer (Murray CMA), Catherine Allan (Albury Conservation Company/ Charles Sturt University), Matthew Gill and David Watson (CSU), and Kathy Maguire (CSU student and volunteer).

Funding for the event was provided by the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust. S2S is extremely grateful for the support of the NSW Government in our region, and that includes helping to fund the S2S Facilitator role.

The central aim of the GER is “Connecting People, Connecting Nature”, and the BioBlitz concept is a great way of bringing people together to learn and share knowledge about our local flora and fauna, including the importance of protecting and connecting wildlife habitat.

The event saw around 300 people involved, including around 180 students and teachers from nine local schools on the Friday. The participating schools were Mullengandra Public School, Burrumbuttock Public School, Culcairn Public School, Gerogery Public School, St Joseph’s School Holbrook, Thurgoona Primary School, Trinity Anglican College (Thurgoona), National Environment Centre, and Charles Sturt University. A class of 15 students from CSU also helped set up motion sensing cameras in Woomargama National Park two weeks prior to the actual event.

The Bioblitz could not have taken place without the involvement of the following 17 ecologists and technical support people who donated their time, expertise and resources to the event:

  • David M Watson, Alsion Matthews, Lisa Smallbone, Alexandra Knight and Matthew Gill (Charles Sturt University)
  • Damian Michael, Mason Crane and Sachiko Okada (Australian National University)
  • Helen Waudby and Alison Skinner (Murray Catchment Management Authority)
  • Rodney van der Ree and Lee Harrison (University of Melbourne) 
  • Luke Pearce (NSW Department of Primary Industries)
  • Nigel Jones and Tiffany Mason (Nature Conservation Trust)  

​We were also very fortunate to have two indigenous rangers (Shane Herrington and Talea Bulger) from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service who provided aWiradjuri Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony on the Friday morning, and conducted ‘Tracks, scats and traces’ activities with school groups in Woomargama National Park. 

Equally integral was the support and involvement of private land owners and reserve managers to allow us access to suitable sites to conduct surveys. We would like to acknowledge and thank  Clare Cannon (owner) and Nick and Fiona Wragge (managers) of Woomargama Station, Rick and Jo Hoole of Slate Hill, Warwick Hull (NSW Trade and Investment - Crown Lands) for allowing access to Blue Metal Hill Reserve and the crown road reserve at Mountain Creek, and Dave Pearce (Ranger) of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service  (Woomargama National Park, Benambra National Park). 

Woomargama National Park Volunteers, Woomargama Hall Committee, and Woomargama Rural Fire Service for providing the Woomargama Hall as the event base and also for catering during the event, which meant that they were involved for long hours and put in a lot of effort behind the scenes. 

As part of the event a Nature Photography Workshop was also hosted by Esther Beaton, renowned wildlife photographer. This was an extremely popular ticketed event capped at 25 participants, with unfotunately a number of people missing out. Thanks to Esther Beaton for running the workshop and also to Rick and Jo Hoole for hosting the activity on their property, Slate Hill. 

Thank you to our guest speakers including Neville and Jan Lubke (Bush Stone Curlews), Stuart Lucas (Squirrel Gliders), and Andrew Claridge (Tiger Quolls) , who made a whirlwind trip from Canberra especially to give a very thought provoking talk on the Friday evening.

The BioBlitz maps were created by Liam Grimmett. Liam is doing his Masters in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at CSU, and he also did the maps for the Thurgoona BioBlitz as a student intern with NCT. 

St John’s Ambulance Australia volunteers attended the entire event and provided first aid support as required. Fortunately they were kept very quiet due to the lack of incidents.

In terms of species recorded there were over 110 species of fauna recorded across the sites over the three days, including a handful of introduced species. All the records have been uploaded onto this site.

Media: Eastern Riverina Chronicle (http://www.easternriverinachronicle.com.au/story/1784354/endangered-species-to-the-fore/?cs=631). 

Report by Sam Niedra (S2S Facilitator)