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Citizen Science Project - Evaluation of 2M Tree Plantings at Wacol

Citizen Science Project - Evaluation of 2M Tree Plantings at Wacol

A Citizen Science Grant of $16,000 was awarded to The Hut Environmental and Community Association (THECA) Inc. to monitor the condition and health of trees planted under the Brisbane City Council’s 2 Million Trees Project. The trees and shrubs at Wacol were planted in 2011/12.

Twenty (20) volunteers were recruited, of which 18 have remained until December 2019.

Thirteen, 50 X 50 Metre Plots were marked out across the Wacol site. On each of the Plots, corrugated iron sheets, hardwood sleepers, roof tiles and tree wraps were placed for reptile refuges. Sixty hair traps and six motion cameras were located for a two-week period on three Plots. These traps and cameras will be placed in the plots again for another two week period in 2020.

A Training Workshop was held on 26th October at Pooh Corner Environmental Centre. Volunteers were addressed on topics such as Plant Identification and Monitoring Methods (Environmental Consultant Stephen Catchpoole); Bird Identification and Survey Methods (Birds Southern Queensland Stace Maclean); Reptile Identification and Survey Methods (CSIRO Andrew Taylor); and Mammal Survey Methods (G Siepen for Justin Watson).

The Training Workshop held a classroom session using powerpoint slides followed by a field session to assist volunteers to become familiar with the trees planted at the Wacol site with Workshop Speakers demonstrating identification and survey methods.

Four Citizen Scientist groups were formed. This has reduced to three during the first half of the project. Groups were allocated three 50 X 50 Metre Plots each, scattered throughout the Wacol site. One Plot was used as the training plot. The three remaining Plots will be surveyed by Project Coordinators, Greg Siepen and Dan Cole.

Each group has started recording vegetation occurrence on their allocated plots. One survey is required for the entire project. Each group has started their monthly surveys of birds and reptiles which will last until June 2020.

Tree results are still being tabulated.

In summary to date, trees and shrubs have done quite well, although some deaths have occurred. The area has experienced drought for a long time since 20111/12 as evidenced by soil cracks and trees and shrubs looking very ‘sick’, possible dying. Several native fauna species have been observed within the Wacol site and on the Plots such as Beaded Dragon, Eastern Brown snake, Collared Sparrowhawk, brush turkey and three species of macropod. Hairs collected in the hair tarps will be sent for identification and animals will be identified by Justin from the motion camera cards.

Groups will continue to conduct bird and reptile monthly surveys over summer and complete the vegetation monitoring.

G Siepen & D. Cole (Project Coordinators)