Citizen science

Citizen science projects

Citizen science projects provide an excellent opportunity for people from all walks of life to participate in scientific research and contribute valuable information to advance current scientific knowledge. 

Citizen science is particularly important for gathering biodiversity data to allow scientists and natural resource managers (such as Willoughby City Council) to better understand and protect the natural environment and its diversity of flora, fauna and fungi species.

Use this calendar to explore the range of citizen science projects you can participate in each month.

Citizen Science Calendar

Flora

Wild Orchid Watch (year-round)

A citizen science project designed to collect, record and share scientific information about Australian native orchids.

To participate, install the Wild Orchid Watch (WOW) app on your mobile device and follow the prompts.

Wild Orchid Watch

Australian Leaf Miners (year-round)

Leaf miners are insects that tunnel inside leaves. This project has been created as a space for Australian records of leaf miners to be collated.

To participate, submit your observation through iNaturalist by searching for the Australian Leaf Miners project.

Australian Leaf Miners

Fauna

Australasian Fishes Project (year-round)

The aim of the project is to build up an extensive ‘image library’ that can be used to identify fishes, to map their distributions and to investigate changes in growth, pattern and shape with growth and other issues.

To participate, submit your observation through iNaturalist by searching for the Australasian Fishes Project.

Australasian Fishes project - iNaturalist

Australasian Fishes project - Australian Museum

Big City Birds (year-round)

This project aims to learn more about the adaptive behaviours of 5 bird species living in urban cities - Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian Brush-turkey, Australian White Ibis, Little Corella, and Long-billed Corella.

To participate, report your sightings using the Bird City Birds app or website.

Big City Birds

 

Australasian Bat Night (March-May)

Each year during March, April and May, bat specialists team up with community and local government groups to hold over 100 bat events across Australia, New Zealand and the rest of Australasia.

To participate, check out the Australasian Bat Society website for event details.

Ausbats Bat Nights

Powerful Owl Project (year-round)

The Powerful Owl project aims to inspire and educate the general public about powerful owl conservation. Owl sightings submitted by citizen scientists are used to better understand their distribution and manage owl populations and habitats.

To participate, report your sightings on Birdata.

Birdata FAQs

Powerful Owl Project
 

FoxScan (year-round)

Foxes are an introduced pest and a major predator wildlife. FoxScan aims to use fox sighting records to manage foxes more effectively to reduce the damage they cause.

To participate, report your sightings to the FoxScan website or free app.

Fox Scan

 

National Moth Week (23-31 July)

National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles and habitats of moths. Moth-ers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to learn about, observe and document moths in their backyards, parks and neighbourhoods.

To participate, report your observations through iNaturalist by searching for the National Moth Week Project.

National Moth Week 2022

Echidna CSI (year-round)

A citizen science project designed to collect echidna sighting data and scat samples to better understand their distributions and health across Australia.

To participate, report your sightings to the Echidna CSI app, or send in scat samples

EchidnaCSI

 

Aussie Backyard Bird Count (17-23 October)

An activity for all ages that involves observing and counting the birds that live near. By telling us about the birds you’ve seen within a 20 minute period, you will help BirdLife Australia develop an understanding of local birds, whilst getting to know the wildlife on your doorstep!

To participate, download the free Aussie Bird Count app on your mobile device and submit your observations.

Aussie Backyard Bird Count

Frog ID (11-20 November)

FrogID week is Australia’s biggets frog count, held annually for Australians to help record frog calls through the free FrogID app, as a measurement of frog health and distribution around the nation. It aims to monitor frog distributions over time, helping us to understand how frogs and their ecosystems are responding to a changing planet.

To participate, use the free FrogID app to record and submit frog calls.

FrogID

Australian Pollinator Week (9-17 November 2024)

Australian Pollinator Week is a designated week in spring to acknowledge and raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and support their needs.

To participate, check out the Australian Pollinator Week website for event details.

Australian Pollinator Week

 

The Great Cicada Blitz (Summer months)

Australia has the richest diversity of cicadas in the world (over 350 but up to as many as 1,000 species). Very little is known about the ecological preferences of Australian cicadas. Sightings of cicadas and the plant species they around on will help better understand their distributions across Australia.

To participate, report your observations through iNaturalist by searching for the Great Cicada Blitz project.

The Great Cicada Blitz

 

Sea Slug Census (summer months)

A collaborative citizen science program with the objective of documenting the diversity and changing distribution of sea slugs. Volunteers photographically record observations of sea slugs during nominated events (typically during summer months.)

To participate, submit your observation through iNaturalist by searching for the Sea Slug Census Project.

Sea Slug Census 

 

City Nature Challenge: Greater Sydney (26 to 29 April 2024)

The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants, fungi and wildlife in cities across the globe. Join other cities around the world on a 4-day activity in which participants discover and record as many species across the Greater Sydney Region as possible.

To participate, submit your observation through iNaturalist by searching for the City Nature Challenge project.

City Nature Challenge 2024 - iNaturalist

City Nature Challenge 2024

 

Backyard Species Discovery with Bush Blitz (year-round)

Bush Blitz is Australia’s largest nature discovery program. It aims to document plants and animals across Australia.

To participate, submit your observation through iNaturalist by searching for the Backyard Species Discovery with Bush Blitz project.

Backyard Species Discovery with Bush Blitz

Bush Blitz
 

Great Southern Bioblitz (28-31 October)

An opportunity for all Southern Hemisphere countries to record organisms during Spring and showcase our beautiful biodiversity to the world. The event is run by a grassroots network of keen citizen scientists from across the globe.

To participate, submit your observation through iNaturalist by searching for the Great Southern Bioblitz- Greater Sydney region project.

Great Southern Bioblitz 2022 - iNaturalist

Great Southern Bioblitz

Fungi

 

Fungimap Australia (year-round)

A citizen science project designed to record and map fungi found across Australia. Fungimap Australia spread the word about the ecological importance of fungi and advocate for fungal conservation and investment in mycology.

To participate, submit your observation through iNaturalist by searching for the Fungimap Australia project.

Fungimap Australia - iNaturalist

Fungimap

Join the Willoughby Wildlife Watch program

Join the Willoughby Wildlife Watch program to stay up to date with citizen science projects, environmental activities, and recent local flora, fauna, and fungi observations.