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Birdlife Australia calling on Shepparton’s citizen scientists for bird watching seminar

By Ed McLeish

The bird is the word - again.

After being called off due to extreme heat conditions in January, Birdlife Australia’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program (WetMAP) is going to run a citizen scientist seminar in Shepparton this Saturday.

Birdlife Australia wetland program co-ordinator Bradley Clarke-Wood said the session would cover the significance of environmental water to birds and wetland health, identifying and monitoring birds and wetlands, and most importantly, include light refreshments.

“For us, this is a great opportunity to reconnect with our local members at the Birdlife Murray-Goulburn but also the broader community, for whom these wetlands are so important,” he said.

“Any opportunity to collaborate with the community around a scientific project, which aims to understand and demonstrate the ecological benefits of delivering environmental water to wetlands for birds in northern Victoria, is special.”

“I’m excited also by the opportunity for knowledge exchange - there is a wealth of knowledge about these systems in the Shepparton region and I expect to learn a lot from the participants.”

Although Australia is one of the world’s driest continents, it has extensive wetland systems that support a diverse and stunning range of waterbirds.

Sadly, many waterbirds and their habitats face increasing threats.

By monitoring their numbers and looking for trends, citizens can identify factors that affect them and what needs to be done to protect them and halt any declines.

This is where communities across Shepparton, and the Goulburn-Broken Catchment, come in.

BirdLife Australia and the Arthur Rylah Institute will be holding a workshop in Shepparton on Saturday, February 29 from 1.30 pm – 5.30 pm to introduce people to the WetMAP Bird Citizen Science Project.

It’s on at the Shepparton Senior Citizens Centre, 132 Welsford St, Shepparton.

WetMAP is a Victorian monitoring program designed to assess ecological responses of vegetation, waterbirds, frogs and fish to the delivery of water for the environment in wetlands.

Monitoring for WetMAP is coordinated by Arthur Rylah Institute and funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Please register for the WetMAP workshop here.

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