This week #socialdistancing Citizen Scientists and Earth Guardians from around Australia participated in National Eucalypt Day on their phone with leading citizen science mobile phone application QuestaGame. QuestaGame is completely driven by the power of the citizen, with the extra feel-good bonus that the species data go towards scientific research and conservation of our Earth.
For National Eucalypt Day people simply had to submit photos of creatures seen around Eucalypts to be in the running for prizes.
Earth Guardians QuestaGame player ‘Hannah’ won the #Eucalypt day #BioQuest with the best observation of the day. When Hannah was asked about her find she laughed saying it was “by far the largest ladybug I’ve ever seen (if actually a ladybug) roughly the size of my thumbnail. It’s prominent white spots and white tips at the end of each ‘foot,’ were spectacular. I found it crawling on a eucalyptus tree trunk and it moved quite quickly."
All sightings are double-blind verified by experts in the field, and in this case, the expert noted that Hannah’s sighting wasn’t a ladybug but rather an eight-spotted leaf beetle – Paropsisterna sexpustulata. The white feet being the distinguishing feature.
An honourable mention also went to QuestaGame’s player ‘Greggo’ finding a precious bird species in the top of a eucalypt tree. His sighting was submitted with the following field notes; "This Wattlebird spends all day up in the top of this Eucalyptus and ones like it in the campground, only occasionally venturing to ground level to snap up a grub or a carelessly unguarded biscuit, then quickly return to the safety of the treetops.”
The company Earth Guardians proudly build channels for citizen scientists (Earth Guardians) to capture species data from their local area. The need for species data has been highlighted most recently in the Australian bushfires where government and non-government organisations realised that they did not have the data (or technology/capacity to backfill data) to handle the environmental crisis’ and the world biodiversity issues.
The beauty of citizen science lies within the power to call an army, who in their own neighbourhoods can silently walk our Earth to map and identify the millions of species we need to be able to read the health of our own environments for humans.
The brilliant part about citizen science, when we are living through a pandemic, is the ability to be isolated in nature and enjoying the space, now you can use the time to help fulfil the purpose of capturing data that will serve our Earth.
Earth Guardians mobile phone app - QuestaGame started in 2013 and has had over 2 million sightings and identifications mapped over 16,000 species, across 45 countries informing 90 scientific papers in 2019 alone. Earth Guardians continue to call on those who are at home to download the QuestaGame app and take photos of species found in their backyard. Every species matters.
More info at www.questagame.com and www.earthguardians.life