The Mary Cairncross BioBlitz held in March 2019 has been nominated as a finalist in the national Banksia Foundation awards for excellence in sustainability.
Over four days in March 2019 a diverse team of scientists, artists and Jinibara Traditional Owners explored five giant strangler figs (Ficus watkinsiana) to research and celebrate biodiversity, from the floor of the forest to the emergent canopy.
The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve BioBlitz was Australia’s first vertical bioblitz. Unprecedented access to the stratified rainforest was facilitated by a team of arborists.
It scaled physical heights, generated conservation data and facilitated new relationships across cultural and knowledge divides.
- 13 scientists across seven taxonomic groups surveyed species found from the understorey to emergent canopy.
- 6 artists undertook creative research, developing visual responses to the emerging biodiversity data, and
- Jinibara Traditional Owners shared their knowledge and perspectives.
A program of events focused on citizen science, sharing knowledge, creativity and culture was delivered to deepen the community’s understanding of biodiversity and regard for cultural and natural heritage. More than 250 people participated in activities, including bat detective walks, pademelon surveys, botanical printmaking and bio-communication talks.
Research results and discussions, vouchered specimens, artistic responses, videography and audio from a livestream canopy microphone all comprised a public exhibition over five months at the award winning Rainforest Discovery Centre.
Cr Jenny McKay shared her excitement about this unique project.
“Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is already known as an incredibly significant terrestrial ecosystem, and yet, the BioBlitz helped us identify a range of previously unrecorded species for the reserve.
"Through these discoveries and collaborative work with our Survey Team partners, we can now better manage and protect these diverse species more effectively.
“I’m so proud of our remarkable BioBlitz Survey Team, all the volunteers, and the community that engaged with this ground-breaking program.”
The Mary Cairncross BioBlitz was recently announced as a finalist in the Banksia Foundation awards for sustainable development.
“The Banksia Sustainability Awards, which are regarded as the most prestigious and longest-running in Australia, will be held on December 3, 2019,” Cr McKay said.
“While our beloved BioBlitz may gain further recognition, which I believe it deserves, this program already achieved such a broad range of positive outcomes for both the biodiversity of the rainforest and for our community at large.