Bega Valley Shire Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness to work together to support citizen science in shire, with the first joint project involving a visit to Towamba cemetery on 21 August.
“This MOU involves at least four jointly managed citizen science projects a year, which we’re sure will lead to increased interest and involvement by the local community in learning about our natural environment,” Shire Mayor, Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“Engaging with local residents and volunteers and involving them in these types of environmental programs will help people connect with nature and each other, leading to enhanced wellbeing.”
Chairperson of Atlas of Life, Libby Hepburn said citizen science is about using the talents, intel and interests of the local community to help us learn more about our natural environment.
“Every day there are people across the shire bushwalking, enjoying our natural environment and noticing changes in the nature around them,” Ms Hepburn said.
“This event is the first of a three-year program to visit every cemetery in the shire and document the plants, insects and animals that live in and around them.
“Our members will document what they find on the iNaturalist app; photographs are loaded onto the iNaturalist website so the identity of the plant, insect or animal can be confirmed.
“We will also have talks on the local eco-system, including a discussion by botanical expert, Jackie Miles and a talk about the history of the cemetery by historian, Fiona Firth.
“Potaroo Palace will have a presentation and display and there will be a free sausage sizzle.”
Atlas of Life assures the community that full care and respect for the cemetery and those interred will be maintained during this event.
“We hope we can bring to life another aspect of the cemetery and demonstrate the important role plants, insects and animals play in the local ecosystem,” Ms Hepburn said.
Towamba: Life in Our Cemeteries will be held on Saturday 21 August, starting at 11am, as a part of the National Science Festival.
Register online to attend this event: begavalley.nsw.gov.au/life-in-our-cemeteries
The Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness is a not-for-profit organisation and an ongoing citizen-science project.