Bush Blitz TeachLive: 27 May - 3 June 2014
Bush Blitz is a biodiversity discovery program between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia that aims to document the plants and animals across Australia. www.bushblitz.org.au.
Following the huge success of the 2013 Bush Blitz TeachLive program at Henbury Station in the Northern Territory, the Australian Science Teachers Association and Earthwatch Australia are once again joining with the Australian government to offer a group of teachers the unique professional development opportunity to actively participate in a Bush Blitz survey.
This program will require a dedicated commitment by teachers. In addition to committing to the Bush Blitz survey teachers MUST:
- Carefully read the Expedition Information on the Bush Blitz TeachLive website (see 'volunteer tasks' and 'meals and information' below)
- be available for a full-day induction day and web training seminar (via teleconference or video conference)
- develop a sequence of lessons for their students and have reasonable IT skills in order to contribute to live content management of the Bush Blitz TeachLive website. They will incorporate the use of Web2 technologies to deliver lessons to their classes. Examples can be viewed on the TeachLive website: http://bushblitz.teachlive.org.au/Welcome-to-Bush-Blitz-TeachLive/2013-Team
- be physically fit and active, and prepared to work up to 8 hours a day in the field
- organise their own transport to and from the closest major airport to the survey site. Costs associated with accommodation and travel to and from the project will be reimbursed by Earthwatch.
- have their own laptop available to bring to the Bush Blitz
- A fully-funded place on the 2014 Bush Blitz TeachLive survey. This includes:
- travel and accommodation getting to the Bush Blitz (up to $1,500 per person)
- accommodation in the field
- food in the field
- full teacher replacement costs (6 business days between 27 May – 3 June 2014).
- Training in field research methods.
- Training in website content management.
- Detailed briefing materials on the survey.
- Bush Blitz TeachLive merchandise.
Applications are open to all Australian teachers of years 5-8 who are members of their local Science Teachers Association. Five (5) places will be offered. One (1) place will be reserved specifically for an early career teacher (teaching less than three years).
Selection will be based on the applicant’s responses to the background and selection criteria on the Bush Blitz TeachLive application form.
Applications must have school principal approval. The selection committee will consist of representatives from Earthwatch Australia, Bush Blitz and the Australian Science Teachers Association.
Post-survey obligations of successful applicants:
- Co-present a professional development webinar with another Bush Blitz TeachLive participant (facilitated by ASTA through its online portal).
- Provide a brief report on your experiences on the Bush Blitz TeachLive to the Science Teacher Association of which you are a member.
- Contribute to an article on Bush Blitz TeachLive to the September 2014 edition of Teaching Science (ASTA’s professional journal).
- Complete an Earthwatch expedition evaluation form.
- Complete an Earthwatch TeachLive evaluation form.
Completed applications must be received by COB Friday, 21 February 2014
No special skills are required for participation on this survey. All research methods and techniques will be taught during the project, and the scientists and project staff will be with you if you have any questions.
Bush Blitz surveys include a number of scientists researching different types of plants and animals. Some of the tasks you may be required to undertake include:
Pit Fall, Funnel and Elliott Trapping for Reptiles and small mammals. Participants will assist in installing pitfall and funnel traps along fence lines which aim to direct the animals into the traps. This will involve digging holes for the pitfall traps and laying out the fences. Participants will also be involved in setting out and checking elliot traps. Once set up, participants will assist the researchers in monitoring the traps to see if any reptiles or small mammals have been caught. All animals will then be processed, including taking measurements and weighing, and samples may be taken for genetic analysis.
Moth Malaise and Light Trapping. Moths are one of the taxa that are being studied on Bush Blitz. In the day participants will assist with setting up and monitoring malaise and bucket traps for collection of moths and other flying invertebrates. Nets may also be used to try and capture day moths and dragonflies. At night, a light trap which includes powerful spotlights shining at a large white sheet is set up and monitored for the collection of moths and special insects. Participants assist with monitoring and collecting but also help with pinning the moths the next day back in the makeshift lab.
Flora Survey. There are certain key flora species that the scientists will be seeking out. Participants will learn the characteristics of these species and also have access to species identification books to learn what they are trying to find. Participants will accompany the scientists to search for flora and once found will help take samples for genetic analysis. Participants will also assist with preparing herbarium specimens by pressing and drying samples.
Spider Survey. Pseudoscorpions are very small arachnids and are often known as false scorpions. They have a flat, pear shaped body and pincers that resemble those of scorpions.These along with some species of spiders have been identified as key taxa for Bush Blitz. Participants may assist scientists in looking for these species by peeling back bark of trees or looking through leaf litter. Once found they are captured into vials, and brought back for identification in the lab. Scorpion traps may also be set out, and the team will regularly monitor them to see if any are caught for identification.
True Bugs Survey. True bugs have two pair of wings, a front and outer pair which are held over the back often partly folded. They are usually very small and take some practice in capturing. Participants may learn how to collect true bugs by using a net, a puter, and a stick. The vegetation in which the true bugs are found is important to the scientists, therefore a sample of the vegetation is taken and kept with the specimen for later identification. Participants may also assist the scientists in sorting the various species into vials for further analysis after the project.
Gastropod Survey. Volunteers will assist with the survey of land snails. Snails are collected primarily by hand. This involves turning of rocks and logs and searching through leaf litter and moss. Collected snails are kept alive for identification and then either released or preserved in alcohol if they need to be sent back to the laboratory.
Meals and accommodation
Participants will have the option of staying in basic rooms indoors (which may be shared), or have the opportunity to sleep in tents. In both cases, participants will be required to provide their own sleeping bag and pillow, however for those adventurous enough to enjoy the outdoors a swag/mattress and all weather tent will be provided.
Hot showers and flushing toilets will be available. A school room will be setup for teachers to do their internet-based Bush Blitz TeachLive tasks. Ample power will also be available for recharging any equipment.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided. However, participants and staff will be responsible each morning for making their own continental breakfasts and a packed lunch with food provided. Dietary requirements can be catered for where appropriate.
Applications for the 2014 Bush Blitz TeachLive expedition have now closed.
If you have any questions or queries contact:
Delese Brewster, ASTA Senior Projects Officer email@example.com