Twenty five students from the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) converged on Goongerah this week to take part in a citizen science survey camp. Students from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra attended to learn about the ecology of the forests of East Gippsland and the survey techniques used in GECOs citizen science program.
During the day the students took part in surveys to identify potential habitat for the endangered large brown tree frog and measured giant trees in proposed logging areas. Nocturnal activities included silent listening for the frogs in areas of suitable habitat and spotlighting for Greater Gliders.
We collected some really valuable data with the students help. While no new large brown tree frog records were made a number of areas of suitable habitat were located. These locations will help to inform where future survey efforts should be targeted. We surveyed some old growth forest in the Cottonwood range that was recently added to VicForests logging plans. Many large old trees were measured and vegetation surveys carries out.
We also collected some great data on Greater Gliders in the cottonwood range. One spotlighting sessions spotted eight Greater Gliders in an area of forest scheduled for logging. Logging here will wipe out this population of Greater Gliders who have very small home ranges of just 1-4 hectares in size and sleep in hollow trees during the day when the logging will occur. Most logging areas in the Cottonwood are about 30 hecatres and have the potential to destroy habitat of dozens of family groups of Greater Gliders. We also recorded several Yellow bellied gliders, and possums. This was our first good look at the new logging proposed logging areas in the Cottonwood range and it appears there is plenty more survey work to do up there.
We visited an area of old growth forest on the Errinundra plateau where more tree measuring surveys were carried out and we set up remote fauna cameras to detect the spot tailed quoll and long footed potoroo.
Most of the students who attended are geography or environmental science students who were really keen to put their study knowledge and skills into practice and help protect some forests. Despite the cold, we had heaps of fun and there was snow up on the plateau which made the forest walks especially pretty.
It was so great to see how inspired and pumped up they were at the end. Full of knowledge and energy to get involved with the campaign to protect East Gippslands forests. We're looking forward to the students from ASEN return for our summer program.
Click on the photos below to view a slide show from the camp.