Bega River BioBlitz

Bega River

16th – 18th August, 2019

The Bega River BioBlitz (BRBB) will be the central event of National Science Week 2019 in the Bega Valley. 

The BRBB will involve scientists, naturalists and community members in a wide range of ecological surveys. Working together, the aim is to discover, identify and record the biodiversity and biological richness along this stretch of the river.

A range of habitats will be investigated – freshwater floodplain lagoon/wetlands, riparian habitats and revegetation areas – and a variety of surveys are being planned – small mammals, evening spotlighting, nest box surveys, reptiles, birds, spiders & beetles, moths, waterbugs, flora, riparian vegetation, soil assessments and more.

Are you ready to BioBlitz in Bega?! This weekend is your chance to get involved with this increasingly popular grassroots science event.

After six successful Bega Valley Bioblitzes, number seven is on now (August 16 - 18) as part of National Science Week celebrations.

The Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness is partnering with the Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub and Bega Valley Shire Library to co-ordinate a BioBlitz of the Bega River and its newly restored habitats.

Everyone is invited to come and enjoy this free, family-friendly, all-ages, nature-inspired event - NO SCIENCE SKILL OR KNOWLEDGE IS NEEDED.

Never been to a BioBlitz before? Citizen scientists (that's you) work side by side with 'real' scientists; working together to explore the local environment - all with the aim of recording as many species as possible.

Imagine finding something new! It happens.

“You never know what we are going to find, new species have been discovered, in 2016 at the Four Winds site near Bermagui we discovered a new Peacock Spider," says Libby Hepburn from The Atlas of Life.

You never know what we are going to find at a bioblitz. Photo: Supplied.
The revitalised Bega River is again one of the town’s treasures. There is more repair work to be done in this precious environment but the animals, plants, birds, and bugs that rely on this ecosystem have responded to the work of many in recent times.

And the BioBlitz will prove it.

Over 30 separate and unique events are scheduled for Aug 16-18

  • Habitat Box Silhouette Monitoring

  • Spotlighting Brogo and Bega Rivers

  • Glebe Lagoon, Kisses Lagoon, Bega Cheese Factory Bird Surveys

  • Small Mammal Trapping

  • Reptiles and Cryptic Species

  • Spider and Beetle Search

  • Water-bugs Survey

  • Bega River Geomorphology

  • Canoe Survey of Mogareeka Inlet

  • Soil Sample Survey

  • Camera Trapping

  • Worms Survey

  • Good Wasps/Bad Wasps

  • Shorebirds and Bush-birds Survey

  • Orchids Survey

  • Tree Planting and Children's Environmental Education

Which one gets your imagination and interest bubbling? It's all FREE, just reserve your place via Eventbrite now.
“The many people who walk, run or cycle along the Bega River have seen this environment be reborn, and now we want to put some data behind that,” Libby says.
“No science background is needed, just an interest in the world around us.
"The end result will be a better understanding of what's happening in our local environment so that it can be better managed and cared for."

A BioBlitz of the Bega River is one of the highlights of Bega Valley Science Week. Photo: Supplied.
Volunteers are also needed to assist the BioBlitz scientists and experts. Contact Paul Whittock if you can help - or simply show up at Basecamp.

Outside of the BioBlitz timetable of events, Bega Valley Science Week Basecamp will be buzzing. Your experience starts at the Susan Harris Hall at Mumbulla School, not far from the water’s edge of the Bega River, on Bega Street, Bega.

Submerged: Stories of Australia’s Shipwrecks from the Australian National Maritime Museum
This panel display highlights shipwrecks of national, regional and local importance. Australia has over 11,000 shipwrecks – that’s roughly one wreck for every three kilometres of coastline.

Exploring and Mapping our Living World, from Bournda Environment Education Centre
Created by Bournda EEC teacher Julie Donne, this wonderful teaching resource will introduce you to the wonderful world of citizen science, where you can play an important role in mapping the biodiversity of our local region. Has that spider ever been sighted before? Is that bird out of its normal range? Has anyone sighted that butterfly at this time of the year? So many great scientific questions that could be answered through the sightings that you make in your backyard, local national park, on your farm – ANYWHERE!

Crazy Critters, from Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre
A great hands on and interactive marine exhibit with live sea creatures on display.

Save our Species, from National Parks and Wildlife Service
Discover a world of local shorebirds with Ranger Karl and the discovery trailer.

Be Game, from 2Pi Software
Interactive display based on augmented reality and virtual reality. Create your own virtual sculpture in VR that you can then take home with you and view using 2Pi’s AR platform on your mobile devices.

End Game, from Eden Game Development Centre
Explore the capabilities of virtual reality and video games. Learn about game development, coding, graphics/art, music and many more employable digital skills!

And lots more including the Museum in a Box from the Australian Museum.

A bioblitz is a citizen science event, with scientists, naturalists and the community working together to explore their local area. Photo: Supplied.
“We are blessed to live in a community with so much skill and knowledge of the natural and scientific world. I love seeing people leave these events full of wonder for the world around us,” says Doug Record, Principal of Bournda Environmental Education Centre.

Keep an eye on the Bega Valley Shire Library, Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub, and Atlas of Life Facebook pages.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about the vast world of science and what’s happening in our backyard and have the opportunity to help grow this knowledge and passion in our community,” says Scott Baker from Bega Valley Shire Library.

Need to know more or explore the program? The Bega Valley Science Week Eventbrite page is your friend.

Base Camp, the hub of the BioBlitz, will be the hall at the Mumbulla School. This is an ideal location close to the river and various survey areas.

Mumbulla School, 37 Bega St, Bega. NSW. 2550


The BioBlitz Partners

The planning and organisation of this event involves a number of community groups working in collaboration: Atlas of Life, Bega Valley Shire Library, Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub, Bournda Environmental Education Centre, Bega Valley Shire Council, Mumbulla School and Landcare, specifically BRAWL – the Bega River and Wetlands Landcare.

Read what each of the Partner groups has to say:

The Atlas of Life has been organising BioBlitzes in Bega Valley Shire and across Australia since 2012, and after Bermagui, Panboola, Wallagoot, Mimosa Rocks, Four Winds and From Little Things Grow in Merimbula, this will be the first BioBlitz we have organised to explore and celebrate the Bega River and its riparian habitats. Our long-term community biodiversity mapping project uses NatureMapr as its database for all the sightings recorded in our region. Everyone can add sightings of any natural thing, and the database and its species lists can be used for identification, to see where species have been found or just for fun looking at all the amazing images of species found in our region. You can also find information and resources on our Atlas of Life website and Facebook page and join our Atlas Naturalists for field visits with experts and to learn more about the biology of our local species. All our records are moderated and then added to the Atlas of Living Australia and to the Global Biodiversity database. The established NatureMapr network now covers the ACT and its regions and the coastal area up to Kiama. Albury Wodonga, Noosa and the Southern Highlands are also joining the network.

Bega Valley Shire Library aims to inspire, empower, support and connect community and visitors with ideas, technology, information and experiences. BVS Library strongly values science education and community partnerships, has coordinated the past two Science Week Festivals in the Bega Valley, and is an active partner in the Regional Science and Sustainability Hub.  By forming and building partnerships within Council and the broader community BVSL facilitates connection and capacity building between community organisations to deliver diverse and engaging programs.  For 2019 Science Week, BVS Library is again taking a central role in coordinating the Bega Valley Science Festival and Bega River BioBlitz, supported by grant funding from Inspiring Australia.

Bega River and Wetlands Landcare (BRAWL) is really keen to have all the records and data we will collect over the 60’ish surveys of the BioBlitz. BRAWL is a volunteer, community group, formed in 2006 to improve degraded sections of the Bega River and Spenco Lagoon. Since then, BRAWL has joined with Bega Valley Shire Council, state government, schools and Bega Cheese to rehabilitate over three kilometres of the River: stabilising river banks and the Anabranch channel, protecting the ancient, remnant River Oaks, controlling weeds including removing the thickets of weedy bamboo and revegetating with native plants, reconnecting with the nearby Spenco Lagoon and creating a family-friendly recreational space. BRAWL also engages school groups & the community to educate on caring for the River and on the biodiversity that lives there, helping to connect our local community to these significant environments. 

BRAWL is keen to have information and records about the current vegetation and biodiversity of the areas where they have been working for the last decade. This will demonstrate how their re-vegetation and riverbank stabilisation has improved the habitats and wildlife of this previously degraded landscape.

Bournda Environmental Education Centre (BEEC) is a Department of Education facility located in Bournda National Park.  As a foundation member of the science and sustainability hub BEEC is committed to playing our role in helping to build community engagement through citizen science and other sustainability education programs.  We have had the privilege of supporting school involvement in all the bioblitzes coordinated by ALCW and look forward to doing the same in 2019. Students from local schools will have the opportunity to see the BioBlitz in action and will participate in sessions where they make their own scientific contribution to the BioBlitz!

Bega Valley Shire Council strongly values citizen science and has been a supporter of the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness project since its beginnings in 2012.  This year, Council’s Water and Sewer Services, and Environment and Sustainability sections have provided generous financial support for the Bega River BioBlitz. Council is also providing staff to coordinate and plan the BioBlitz event, as well as run some of the many surveys to be offered.

BVSC recognises the effectiveness of BioBlitzes in bringing together land managers, scientists and the community to build a greater understanding of the ecology of an area through a collaborative and enjoyable event. In addition to the community engagement benefits of this event, data from the Bega River BioBlitz will be used by council to inform restoration projects on public reserves along the river. 

Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub Sustainability Education Network (SCRSHSEN) is a dynamic group of volunteers from a range of organisations who have a common interest in all things scientific and sustainable, encouraging everyone to engage with our environment and enjoy scientific activities to learn more.  Our Hub is one of a network of NSW Regional Science Hubs established by Inspiring Australia, each comprising multidisciplinary teams to develop and deliver high-profile science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) events in regional NSW.  The Hubs deliver year-round events and activities, in partnership with local organisations and sectors, promoting positive attitudes to STEM and increasing the confidence and skills of parents, teachers and young people to engage with scientific issues. Since 2013, this group has been organised the Sapphire Coast Science Festival to mark National Science Week.

The Partners are grateful for additional funding support from Inspiring Australia and extend thanks also to the Australian Museum who will once again be providing us with their most popular and educational “Museum in a Box” boxes.

Mating Water Striders (image courtesy Kerri-Lee Harris)

Mating Water Striders (image courtesy Kerri-Lee Harris)

Kerri-Lee Harris