B&B Highway initiative

Ryde'ing The B&B Highway

In June, PlantingSeeds Projects launched an exciting new initiative in collaboration with the CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia. Citizen science, through data collection and pollinator and plant identifications, is now a key part of the B&B Highway initiative and this launch reflects that move.

Utilising the 12 Ryde locations with B&B Highway regenerative habitat, we hosted the launch with the support of the City of Ryde through their community grants program. With 7 of the 12 locations represented, PlantingSeeds’ founder Dr Judy Friedlander, alongside CSIRO citizen science lead Dr Erin Roger and Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale welcomed and informed guests on the coldest day in June. Guests included staff, students and parents from the Ryde area as well as two special residents - Jenny O’Neill and Donna Loneregan - who helped PS to bring the B&B Highway to Ryde.

Children in attendance also had the chance to go out into Ryde East Primary Schools green space to search for pollinators, take some photos and then upload that data to the B&B Highway Umbrella Project upon their return to school.

This important component recognises the contribution of citizen science to biodiversity data and research and the benefits of educating students about citizen science to improve scientific literacy and contribute to community engagement in environmental initiatives.

Up until very recently, citizen science was conducted by taxonomists in white lab coats. Now, children in school uniforms – with iPads, Smartphones and other devices – can contribute information and sightings that can generate important Australian research to benefit our ecosystems.

By joining the B&B Highway on iNaturalist and the CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), these and other schools can make valuable contributions to citizen science and biodiversity.

iNaturalist is an online network, website and app developed by the National Geographic Society and the California Academy of Sciences, which allows everyday citizen scientists to contribute research grade data with the help of their Smart devices. The B&B Highway project will contribute to both iNaturalist and the Atlas of Living Australia, which in turn, feeds data back to citizen scientists to foster a growing database of knowledge.

Students – from pre-schoolers to high schoolers – can take images of plants and pollinators in their school yard and a school teacher can upload them to contribute to the national biobank of species.

This helps scientists identify which pollinators are in our suburbs, which pollinators are being lost and which plants they visit.

And students can see how their school is contributing and comparing through a dashboarding facility and what is happening in their area.

If you already have a B&B Highway location and are interested in learning more about our latest citizen science initiatives, please get in touch.