April 11, 2018
Visitors to Sydney Park have spotted everything from powerful owls to emerald-spotted tree frogs, now the City is inviting community members to become citizen scientists and help discover even more species of plants and animals living in the area.
A bioblitz from Friday 13 April to Saturday 14 April in Sydney Park will record as many living things as possible, bringing together scientists and community members and providing the perfect start to the school holidays.
A former industrial wasteland, Sydney Park is now a thriving ecosystem of grass, landscaped gardens, wetlands, rolling hills and pathways, providing habitat for native bats, birds, bugs, frogs and plants.
Friday night participants can join in a spotlight tour searching for nocturnal species, or learn how to use an echometer to track microbats.
Visitors on the Saturday can enjoy nature play activities, a Taronga Zoo stall, an Aboriginal cultural tour, a free barbecue, or help out on several animal surveys.
Budding archaeologists can head on a bike tour to Alexandra Canal to discover the natural history of the area, which was home to dugongs around 6,000 years ago.
One scientist taking part is Associate Professor Dieter Hochuli from the Sydney University School of Life and Environmental Sciences.
“Cities tend to be pretty hostile environments for nature, but there’s a really remarkable group of animals and plants that not only get past these pressures, but thrive in them,” Professor Hochuli said.
“This is helped by spaces like Sydney Park. Here we have a park that gives native plants a space to grow, a habitat for animals to thrive and a place for people to enjoy.
“Although we know that Sydney Park is home to many species of birds, bats and reptiles – there’s so many other creatures and insects in the park and we’re hoping to document these during the bioblitz.”
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City had long aimed to strike the right balance in providing native habitat and recreation spaces for visitors in Sydney Park.
“We’ve created one of Sydney’s best parks to conserve the many native plants and animals in our area and give visitors a place to relax, spend time and learn more about our natural environment,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Visitors to the park have spotted everything from peregrine falcons to blue-tongue lizards and migratory birds from Siberia. This kind of urban biodiversity is a vital part of creating a healthy city and that’s just one of the reasons why Sydney Park is so important.
“We’ve turned the former brickworks and tip into 44 hectares of open space with a city farm, playground, cafes, barbecues, off-leash dog areas, wetlands, space for native plants and animals – and soon one of Sydney’s best public skate parks.”
The species documented throughout the bioblitz will support actions in the City’s Urban Ecology Strategic Plan to maintain and increase biodiversity.
The bioblitz will feature 21 guided citizen science events, allowing people to document the species they find.
A bioblitz base camp on 14 April will include several stalls covering citizen science programs and local naturalist organisations. Visitors can enjoy nature play activities, an Aboriginal cultural tour, a botanical drawing workshop, bike safaris and a talk with animals from Taronga Zoo.
Sydney Park bioblitz
What: science projects, animal and plant surveys, Taronga zoo stall, free barbecue (Saturday) and more
Where: Sydney Park, Sydney Park Road, Alexandria
When: Friday 13 April – Saturday 14 April