Day 4

Today was the Bush Blitz Community Day at the National Botanic Gardens, in Canberra.


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All of the scientists, along with all of us teachers, went into Canberra today for the community day to teach the locals about the importance of biodiversity and what they can do to help document and find the local flora and fauna. We spent the day taking the local kids on walks through the botanic gardens to find true bugs, spiders and reptiles. The kids were so excited, especially by the diamond python and the lace monitors in bells form. I spent time with the true bug guys and we made our own aspirators (bug sucking device) and we found quite a few nice beetles and spiders, but no true bugs. I also had the chance to hold a leaf beetle and a diamond python, which was really cool! 

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I went with a couple of other teachers, for a walk through the gardens. On our wander we found lots of interesting plant and animal species. A nesting yellow-bellied robin was cute and all of the various lizards and dragons were impressive! 

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At the end of the day I went with the true bug team and learned a bit more about the species. They are true bugs because they are the only actual bug from the genus Issus, most of what we call bugs are actually beetles. We surveyed a standard site within the gardens, a site that all scientists survey and track to monitor species populations and diversity. The site is actually a Tasmanian rainforest ecology within the park, so we were ‘bashing’ man ferns, huon pines and acacias, to get the bugs out! We only found two species of true bugs, but that is to be expected in such an ecosystem. We were also with a ‘snail/slug lady’ who found an interesting slug that ejects its entire digestive system when it is under attack. We figured it was a defence mechanism, making the slug look twice as long to scare off its predator. Super gross! 

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The different ecosystems within the botanic gardens were amazing, the rain forest was beautiful and the red centre garden was stunning. It was such a great place and the community were so excited by the work the scientists are doing, that it was a really positive and inspiring day. Tomorrow I am heading out with the plant team, both vascular and non-vascular, to find some cool orchids, mosses and lichens!