The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA), in partnership with the Great Eastern Ranges (GER) Initiative, is conducting the Great Koala Count fromNovember 7 to 17, and are seeking your help throughout the GER Border Ranges Alliance region – northern rivers and southeast Queensland.
With the Great Koala Count due to start in a month’s time, the focus is on spreading the word and getting as many people as possible to register and take part. While the Great Koala Count’s focus is on New South Wales, our partners in southeast Queensland are encouraged to participate, with all of the data collected by the count added to the Atlas of Living Australia.
The great thing about the Great Koala Count is that you don’t need to know anything about koalas; you just need a bit of spare time to search for animals and a smartphone to record what you find.
The NPA has developed a free smartphone app, called BioTag, which enables anyone with a GPS-enabled phone to record the location of koalas along with a few other observational details. Data collected by the BioTag app is automatically uploaded to the NPA’s Citizen Science Data Portal. This information complements existing knowledge about koalas and is available to anyone with an interest in koalas.
To participate in the Great Koala Count, people must first register at www.koalacount.org.au. Once registered, you can download the BioTag app from iTunes or Google Play and use BioTag to record koala sightings any time between Nov 7 and 17.
The aim is to run the Great Koala Count each November and with sufficient support the Great Koala Count will become a useful tool for planning and monitoring future koala conservation projects.
Not everyone is tech savvy, so to help get people started with the BioTag app Friends of the Koala and Tweed Byron Koala Connections will be running two community workshops this coming weekend:
Saturday 12 October – Pottsville Environment Centre – 1.30 to 3.30pm
Sunday 13 October – Room Z181, Southern Cross University – 1.30 to 3.30pm.
The workshops will talk about the Great Koala Count, how to search for koalas and how to use the app or upload your records directly to the NPA’s data portal. RSVPs can be made to either Tanya Fountain on 6670 2587 or Lorraine Vass on 6629 8388.
It not necessary to attend a workshop in order to participate in the Great Koala Count.