2018 BANKSIA COMMUNITY AWARD

OUR WINNERS

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BANKSIA FOUNDATION

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HONOUR
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2018 BANKSIA COMMUNITY AWARD

 

 

Finalists:
• K2W Partnership, NSW
• Repair Café Perth Inc, WA
• Share Shed, QLD
• Ubegin, NSW

Winner:
The NatureMapr Network, NSW

The NatureMapr Network is the fastest developing biodiversity mapping initiative in Australia and is a unique example of how community-led citizen-science initiatives and partnerships across government agencies can add real value to regional management for environmental sustainability.

This is a successful model demonstrating how a user-friendly biological data gathering tool can provide the basis for a range of sustainability outcomes – developing communities of interest and practice, collaboration with government agencies for informed environmental decision making and over time it will allow recording of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Across the South East corner of New South Wales and the ACT this network is creating a beautiful and valuable online database of regional biodiversity. The NatureMapr Network also demonstrates community engagement, lifelong learning and capacity building in and around the natural world. The Canberra Nature Map (CNM), Atlas of Life Coastal Wilderness and from May 2018 the Atlas of Life Budawang Coast are significant community led, volunteer run projects which have attracted broad scientific and professional support because of the evident value of the activities, engagement and scientific and management outcomes.

To date the network has attracted over 2,000 contributors, recorded over 1.18 million sightings of over 7,000 species. Once moderated, data contributes to the Atlas of Living Australia and thence to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. These projects are also engaging community and data gathering at the detailed granular level being requested by the United Nations for reporting progress against the SDGs, in this case particularly: 4, 15, 17 and in time 13.

Each project has database administrators, local contributors and the energy and creativity of the platform creator, Aaron Clausen to ensure the continual enhancement of this user-friendly recording platform for its communities of interest. 126 expert Moderators ensure the validity of each record before it is accepted. Moderators also mentor and nurture the citizen scientists recording their sightings.

Examples of sustainability outcomes from the network to date are; the Canberra orchid and fire study in Aranda Reserve, initiated and undertaken by CNM contributors supported by scientists, the results of this research leading to different and more complex fire-management regimes to better protect orchid populations; Frequently the availability of real-time records of invasive weeds now result in swift and very cost-effective actions for natural resource managers; several species have been removed from threatened species lists because of better more comprehensive community collected data.

As well as encouraging individual data gathering, the projects undertake a range of targeted surveys and activities such as BioBlitzes, Target Species and research to gather particular data, attract new contributors and inform existing members.

The NatureMapr network can readily replicate this successful model and offer support to any region which is keen to develop the same kind of project. Members of the network also offer tools developed here such as the “Australian Guide to running a BioBlitz” and are currently developing mechanisms for reporting to the SDGs, both regionally and globally and will offer these widely.