Blue Tier Bioblitz Info & FAQs

 

Surveys

Habitat Survey

In the habitat surveys, you will learn how to conduct a basic forest survey which counts the number of big trees and record any special animal habitats such as tree hollows. Our survey leaders will be able to teach you about the importance of big trees, forest ecosystems and how these trees play an essential role for carbon storage. 

Botany Survey

This survey will record vascular plant species - trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges, orchids, ferns and the like. Plants that can be identified in the field will be recorded using the INaturalist app. Photographs or specimens of some species may be collected for later identification. You will learn to conduct a botanical survey and discuss some of the features of the forest ecosystem.

Amphibian Survey

This survey will take you on a search for some of our forests most charismatic creatures… frogs! Our experienced survey leader Ian Bool will show you how scientists survey frogs. You will learn how to identify frog calls, identify their habitat and learn about all the species that live in the Blue Tier region.

Photography workshop for plant I.D.

Qualified photography tutor Steve Pearce will show you how to use your DLSR, standard digital camera or even smartphone camera to take pictures of plants, fungi and mosses that can be used to identify species. This means there is no need to take samples out of the forest and has less impact on the environment.

Fauna camera trap setting & retrieval

Fauna camera traps are one of the most useful and least invasive ways to find out what animals are moving through the landscape, especially when we are not around disturbing them. Learn how to set up a survey site, and retrieve information from these cameras throughout the weekend. Led by ecologists with experience using camera traps for conservation work these field trips will take place in the early morning, and later in the evening.

Nature Journaling

Led by ecologist and illustrator Dr. Jen Sanger, these sessions are suitable for absolute beginner drawers and more expert artists alike. Classes are about observing nature rather than artistic talent. Please bring pencils, drawing paper, and any other paints or pens that you may wish to use. Limited materials (pencil & paper)  can be provided for those without who feel inspired on the spot to take part. If you are not comfortable with standing for long periods of sitting on the ground, please bring along a folding chair. All are welcome.

Bat Survey

Using hand held bat sonar detectors small groups will scan the forests for the unique calls of bats in the dusk period, logging the calls and sending them back to Bat Expert Lisa Cawthen to log and examine. Bat sonar detector boxes will also be placed in tree canopies for longer periods to record bat calls over multiple nights.

Masked Owl Survey

Using call and response recording technology small groups will survey areas of high habitat potential to record Owl calls, and aim to get images of Owls recorded. Conservation and Wildlife Biologist Mike Bretz will lead this small group to record any sightings, and sounds of the illusive Tasmanian Masked Owl. Bring your phones be be ready to record any schreaches on your INature.org App.

* Frequency of surveys may change dependent on weather conditions.

Blue Tier Bioblitz base camp

The base camp for the Blue Derby Wild, Blue Tier Bioblitz is at the Weldborough Community Hall and campgrounds. The Weldborough Pub are generously supporting the Bioblitz by providing free access to the town hall for the duration of the Bioblitz.

The HQ at Weldborough Town Hall will have power points where you can recharge phones, computers, camera batteries, and yourself.

Camping

The Weldborough Pub are providing free camping for Bioblitz participants. There are toilets and showers on site and access to an undercover area adjacent to our campsite.

The weather in Weldborough is variable with the potential for rain, hail, sunshine and wind all in one day. Night time temperatures still get cold in January, and the sun UV is high, so be prepared for anything.

Food

There are no fresh food shops at Weldborough. The last towns to stock up on food for your Bioblitz camping weekend are Scottsdale if you’re coming via Launceston, or St Helens if you’re coming in from the East Coast.

Lunch and Dinner is available for purchase from the Weldborough Pub, which has a fully licensed bar and dining area, and beer garden. The owner of the Wedlborough Pub is supporting this event, we encourage sending them some love via your patronage.

There will be a kettle and small tea station at HQ, with basic tea supplies. If you feel like bringing some tea/coffee, or milk of your choice to share, the more the merrier. Coffee can be purchased from the Weldborough Pub coffee machine.

What to bring

Clothing

Be prepared for anything. The Blue Tier is a cool temperate zone at altitude so it can be hot, windy, rainy and cold all in one day. Bring sturdy walking boots, rain jacket (just incase), warm clothes for night expeditions, a sun hat, sun glasses and bathers.

Camping gear

Please bring your own camping equipment to be self sufficient.

First Aid Kit

There will be basic first aid kits at base camp and with survey leads. We strongly recommend bringing your own first aid kit to deal with any cuts, abrasions, blisters, sunburn or minor bites you may get in the field.

If you have an epi-pen or other medication please be sure to have it on you at all times, and notify team leads.

Internet/phone

There is good phone and internet coverage at Weldborough (free govt wifi access), though it is patchy in the Blue Tier.

There’s an App for that!

Downloading specific plant and animal ID apps is useful for documenting images and data.

We will be using iNaturalist.org for botany and habitat surveys you can download the free App for both iPhone or Android

Other smart phone Apps you may find useful include:

 

Transport

Base camp is at the regional hamlet of Weldborough, we will be travelling to remote areas of state forest on unsealed dirt roads. All roads are passable for 2 wheel drive cars, though you need to have good clearance, a spare tire and a full tank of fuel.

If you are able to contribute to carpooling participants for surveys please let us know. All organisers and team leads are volunteers, all carpooling and transport is being offered as part of our volunteer time and resources.

Petrol stations

We recommend arriving at Weldborough with a full tank of fuel, and if you plan on self driving or helping with carpooling a jerry can of extra fuel (just to be safe) is a good idea. The closest refuelling station is approx. 20 minutes away.

Dogs

The Blue Tier Bioblitz is a pet free event. If you have a registered assistance dog please get in touch to discuss which Bioblitz events would be suitable for an assistance dog to be present at.

Kids

We want people of all ages to come and enjoy the forests of the Blue Tier and learn more about what lives in them. Children are very welcome, and encouraged to attend. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times, and need to follow instructions of the team leads, and base camp coordinators.

This is an outdoors, field based event in which participants will be out in the field for 2 or more hours at a time. Adults accompanying children need to be self sufficient for clothing and food needs of minors they are responsible for.

When registering please complete a registration for each child taking part so we are aware of the age range attending. Parents/guardians are fully responsible for children attending the event and surveys.

FAQ

What is happening on Saturday night?

The Weldborough Pub are hosting a free music event featuring Monique Brumby on Saturday night that all Bioblitz participants are invited to be part of. 

Can I just come for part of the event?

Yes. Please let us know what days you are going to attend, and check in at the registration table at the Base Camp when you arrive. We want to make sure all registered survey participants arrive and get home safely.

Do I need to be a scientist to take part?

No. The Bioblitz is designed so all of us can be part of this citizen science event that builds our knowledge and understanding of the Blue Tier, as well as being a fun way to learn some citizen science skills. 

What do I need to bring on the surveys with me?

Please bring along some water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, raincoat and some warm clothes to the survey sites with you. You won’t need to carry them around with you all day, but they are good to have on site within easy reach.

What special things should I bring?

If you have a hand held magnifying glass or binoculars, they would be useful for the surveys. Also bring along a camera if you have one - this doesn’t need to be a special one - while digital DSLR camera is best. A smart phone with a good camera you can be good to use in the field, and in the photography workshop. There is  a lot you can record and document even on a simple camera.

Downloading specific plant and animal ID apps could also be useful for our field sites that have some coverage. Some good apps include:

 

If you are attending the Nature Journaling workshop and have your own art supplies please bring them along.

Can I camp in my van/camper onsite?

Yes, there are designated areas for vans and camper vans. 

Can I bring my own food for meals?

Yes, we won't be providing meals at the Bioblitz, only scientific surveys and fun in the outdoors. You can buy meals at the Weldborough Pub or be self sufficient and prepare your own meals at your campsite.

Are there showers & toilets onsite?

Yes, there are public toilets and coin operated showers as part of the Weldborough Pub free camping site.