Natural Resources SA Murray Darling Basin

Citizen Science – Have you seen this parrot?

With a memorable phone number and television promotion, the 1800 PARROT program has been a great motivator for the South Australian Riverland community to report sightings of a most iconic and beautiful bird, the nationally endangered regent parrot.

 

Public information is an important data source for the recovery program of the regent parrot. Since July 2012, over 450 sightings of regent parrots have been phoned in to the SA regent parrot hotline. From the Victorian Mallee to Murray-Bridge, this excellent example of “citizen science” has collected important information across a wide area in a short time.

 

Public sightings have revealed key patterns and habitat resources, including new information on food sources. 1800 PARROT recorded 29 different food sources for regent parrots, including species not previously known such as seeds of pines (Callitris sp)  and oaks (Casuarina pauper), and some specific floodplain species such as Duma florulenta (Lignum).

 

Other interesting sightings included regent parrots foraging on native garden and ornamental plants. In drier years, watered gardens or bush blocks are probably an important food source for adults to feed young regent parrots.

 

Public sightings were clustered around towns but some sightings were recorded in remote mallee areas, which is extremely important to map the breadth of distribution and habitat use. Community monitoring is an important contribution to the recovery effort.

 

Keep up to date with the project on our website www.regentparrot.org

 

This project has received $40,000 funding from a mix of funds from the South Australian Government and non-government organisations.

 

Image courtesy Helga Kieskamp.

 

 

The power of professional learning

Giving kids access to quality teachers and teaching resources is critical to providing a good education. In 2013, the NRM Education team from Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin trained over 300 teachers on ways to incorporate sustainability education into the school curriculum and connect children with the environment.

 

Research shows kids are spending more time indoors than ever before. NRM Education hopes to change this trend by helping teachers to provide opportunities to develop a deep appreciation and awareness of the natural environment.

 

Professional Development (PD) sessions for teachers focus on a range of topics including threatened flora and fauna, bush tucker, outdoor classrooms and activities, school food gardens and recycled art. Inspirational guest speakers, hands-on activities, educational resources and networking opportunities are always included to inspire teachers with new ideas.

 

Teachers value the PD sessions as it gives them confidence to implement environmental sustainability ideas into their lessons. Pippa Cattanach, Senior NRM Education Coordinator explains, “Teachers meet and hear about how other schools and educators are developing their projects; get a clear overview of support available from the NRM Education team; access new and interesting resources; and see how sustainability programs and activities link with the new Australian Curriculum.”

 

The NRM Education team will run more professional development sessions in 2014. For more information call Pippa Cattanach on Ph; 08 8391 7500 or email samdbenquiries@sa.gov.au .

 

This initiative has been funded by the NRM levy and the SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board.