Our parks provide important services that contribute to Victoria's health, wellbeing, liveability and economy but they are under increasing threat, exacerbated by a poor understanding of their value, a disconnection between people and nature, and a lack of know-how to sustain them under predicted climate scenarios. Stronger Together is a citizen science project that builds capacity in regional communities to understand, monitor, and take action to protect Victoria's biodiversity using app-based technology.
Project Stronger Together: Building resilient parks through community stewardship
|TRUST OBJECTIVES||PROJECT OBJECTIVES|
|Rural and regional Victoria||Build knowledge and empower 10 rural and regional communities to protect their local Parks; collect local biodiversity data to inform decisions; connect communities|
|Enabling financial sustainability||Create regional ClimateWatch networks; build partnerships between local Park Rangers, 40 schools and 20 community groups to continue to monitor and protect Victoria’s Parks and local biodiversity|
|Building organisational capacity||Strengthen strategic partnerships; improve brand awareness in Victorian communities; increase the number of trained citizen scientists in ClimateWatch technology; build reputation for Earthwatch school programs|
|Collaboration and partnership||Parks Victoria; Cool Australia; Geography Teachers Association of Victoria; River Connect; Field Naturalists Club of Ballarat; Friends of Mt Worth State Park; Department of Environment Land Water & Planning|
ClimateWatch is a powerful program that empowers and strengthens communities to respond to complex threats facing our parks, based on sound science and reliable recommendations. It uses robust science to shape policy reform and management strategies, educate society on climate change impacts, and enable action to be taken while reconnecting to nature.
- Using the free ClimateWatch app, Victorians will collect images and record behavioural and geographical data on climate sensitive plants and animals in Park trails. The app records the user’s observations anywhere, in real time, even with a poor mobile signal.
- The Stronger Together project will directly engage local schools, children and community groups in an ongoing relationship with their local parks.
- 10 parks in regional Victoria will be connected to four schools and to local community groups, with each school committing to four park observation activities per year, ensuring at least 16 observation events in each park each year.
- The ClimateWatch app was developed by Earthwatch with the Bureau of Meteorology and The University of Melbourne to understand how changes in temperature and rainfall are affecting the seasonal behaviour of Australia’s plants and animals.
- The increased scientific knowledge resulting from data collection by Victorian citizen scientists will inform Park Victoria’s management and intervention strategies for species at risk.