Treasure hunt in the bush

Namadgi wilderness

A wise old Chief Ranger once said “you simply don’t know, what you don’t now…”

So it is true for our understanding of the rich wonders of nature. While we know a lot, we really don’t know what’s still out there.  The intricate nature of the natural world largely remains a mystery.

It is remarkable to reflect that science is yet to discover all the plants and animals which comprise the incredible biodiversity that underpins our environment.

It is estimated there are up to 680,000 species in Australia, but nearly three-quarters of this biodiversity is yet to be formally identified. An amazing 45% of mainland Australia and a staggering 90% of our marine life has never been systematically surveyed by scientists.

Who knows what incredible discoveries await, what astonishing insights we are to gain from nature.

Bush Blitz is Australia’s largest nature discovery project. A treasure hunt of the natural world. A unique collaboration, united with a common purpose to discover, to learn, to share. Bringing together the resources of the Australian Government, BHP and Earthwatch Australia, Bush Blitz aims to fill knowledge gaps in our biodiversity, building the capacity of land custodians and local communities, empowering us to better appreciate our natural environment and safeguard it for future generations.

Bush Blitz is now the largest biological survey of its type in the world. Using a collaborative model to collect species information, Bush Blitz involves specialist taxonomists, Indigenous communities, teachers and students to build our understanding of the role biodiversity plays in healthy, sustainable ecosystems.

Bush Blitz has come to the bush capital and is now underway across the mountains of Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, the Australian National Botanic Gardens and Parliament House. Base camp is Birrigai Outdoor Education Centre.

Parks and Conservation staff and ACT Government ecologists are on the ground, adding their intimate knowledge of the area and its ecology to the search for new species.
Five teachers from across Australia will join the team as part of an innovative educational element that immerses teachers within field-based research projects. They are teaching directly to their classrooms via TeachLive websites. Back in the classrooms, students are taking a hands on virtual expedition, engaging in real-time scientific study that is sure to whet their appetite to become the next generation of researchers.

The microscope of today’s class room has been taken to the mountains. Who knows what natural wonders await to be discovered here in our beautiful bush capital?
To glean your own insight, visit BushBlitz - Uncovering Australia's vast biodiversity.

Photos credit: David Paul

Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful platypus.

Article also appeared on 4 December in The Chronicle