About Bush Blitz TeachLive

Bush Blitz TeachLive is an educational and professional development program that places Australian science, math (STEM) and geography teachers as research assistants on Bush Blitz expeditions, where they learn scientific skills, and get to teach “live” back to their classrooms.

The TeachLive program was developed by Earthwatch Australia to inspire primary and secondary school students by real STEM research, increasing their motivation to pursue further studies in these subjects.

School teachers will work as research assistants on the Bush Blitz expeditions, helping scientists with vital research and data collection, while communicating their experience live back to their students in the classroom via the TeachLive website.

Benefit for Teachers

Teachers will receive valuable and unique professional development through enhancing their knowledge of STEM content, improving their web-based teaching skills and learning current research techniques. Teachers will also experience valuable networking opportunities and knowledge sharing. Teachers from various states and schools will work closely together, enabling them to share resources, ideas and creativity for their teaching methods and material.

Benefit for Students

In Australia, there has been a significant drop in the number of high school students taking STEM subjects over the last two decades. The TeachLive program will allow students to take a virtual scientific expedition with their teachers, providing inspiration, motivation and an opportunity to view their teachers as science role models. They will see first-hand, the exciting life of a scientist through the experience of their teacher. They will get to see the beautiful and remote areas that scientific research takes place in, the types of work and technologies involved in scientific research, the types of data that is collected, and an understanding of how all this contributes to the central goal of this research – protecting our natural environment.

What does the fieldwork involve?

Taking part in Bush Blitz provides a unique opportunity to work with scientists in the field. No special skills are required. All research techniques will be taught on site, and the scientists and project staff will be with you if you have any questions.

Some of specific methods you may have the opportunity to use include:

  • • Using nets and traps to collect flying insects
  • • Setting and retrieving traps for reptiles and small mammals
  • • Using equipment to remove thrips, true bugs and other insects from their host plants
  • • Conducting surveys of spiders, snails and other invertebrates
  • • Collecting and preserving native plants
  • • Identifying a wide variety of both plant and animal species
Communicating with students

Website management training will be provided to teachers prior to the expedition. They will then use website technologies to communicate with their students from the field, through:

  • • Posting lesson plans for the week they are in the field (to be conducted by teachers back at their school)
  • • Posting daily diaries and blogs
  • • Sharing photographs and videos
  • • Video conferencing using external platforms such as Skype
  • Participation in Bush Blitz TeachLive is via a competitive application process. To register your interest, email your details to earth@earthwatch.org.au to be added to the mailing list, and you will be notified when applications open.

What is Bush Blitz?

Bush Blitz is Australia’s largest nature discovery project – a unique multi-million dollar partnership between the Australian Government through Parks Australia and the Australian Biological Resources StudyBHP and Earthwatch Australia to document plants and animals across Australia.

Since the program began in 2010 Bush Blitz has discovered over 1,600 of new species, and has added tens of thousands of species records to publically accessible databases, increasing our scientific knowledge to help us protect our biodiversity for generations to come.

There are many plants and animals still to be discovered by science. There are an estimated 580,000-680,000 species in Australia, but three-quarters of this biodiversity is yet to be identified. Forty-five per cent of continental Australia and over 90 per cent of our marine area have never been comprehensively surveyed by scientists.

Bush Blitz involves specialist taxonomists, indigenous communities, rangers and landowners, teachers, students and BHP employees. Together they are making an extraordinary contribution to the protection of our country’s natural heritage


Results to date

To date, Bush Blitz scientists - assisted by teachers and BHP Billiton employees working as research assistants in the field, have discovered over 1,600 new species through 34 expeditions, including:

  • • 479 species of spiders
  • • 439 species of true bugs
  • • 149 species of moths
  • • 105 species of bees
  • • 34 species of vascular plants

In addition to discovering new species, Bush Blitz increases our knowledge of species that are already known to science. Through Bush Blitz, scientists have:

  • • Extended the known ranges of over 250 species
  • • Generated records of more than 300
  • species listed as threatened, vulnerable or endangered
  • • Generated records of over 900 pest species

For more information about Bush Blitz go to http://www.bushblitz.org.au 

 

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