BioQuesting Woodfordia 

QuestaGame recently won the prestigious Eureka Science Award for innovation in citizen science, and we invite you to play with us to document Woodfordia’s biodiversity. Already, across one weekend, 300 sightings have been submitted and a new species was found! Become Woodfordia’s citizen scientist by joining the Woodfordia Clan; discover the fascinating creatures that call Woodfordia home and contribute valuable biodiversity data in collaborative fun.

Once a cleared dairy farm, Woodfordia is a 500 acre Land for Wildlife property, which undergoes continuous habitat restoration through planting of native vegetation. So far over 100,000 trees and understory plants have been planted, mainly during The Planting Festival.Several land conservation projects are currently being engaged by our volunteerTreehuggers on a monthly basis. The projects include: erosion restoration; cycads, ferns and palms; butterflies and other invertebrates; and the nesting boxes project. The aim is to provide habitat for wildlife, increase biodiversity and beautify the parkland that isWoodfordia.

Given Woodfordia’s rehabilitation success, wildlife is blooming on site and estimating biodiversity richness is on the agenda. Woodfordia’s biodiversity research initiative would demonstrate the importance of providing a diverse plant habitat which translates into fauna species richness.

Conservation scientists can use data collected by citizens to study biodiversity. At the last Planting festival our patrons used QuestaGame as a platform, to document Woodfordia’s biodiversity. QuestaGame is a mobile app through which players, or Questers, submit pics of wildlife and bio-experts identify their sightings providing some interesting facts about the submitted creature. The sightings are then submitted for mapping and research into biodiversity engines.

Lehtinelagia Woodfordia – a new crab spider species first found at Woodfordia. Photo by Robert Whyte

During The Planting weekend, close to 300 sightings were submitted and mapped out atWoodfordia. Among these a new species of crab spider was found and named Lehtinelagia Woodfordia by Robert Whyte, spider expert and co-author of the Field Guide to Australian Spiders, who lead the spider quest. Participant surveys indicated a strong interest in future engagements and the Woodfordia Clan is growing. With the help of Questers, we hope to discover the species diversity calling Woodfordia home over years to come, demonstrating the link between land restoration as an invaluable tool to preserving, restoring and encouraging biodiversity.

These aspirations have led to the idea that we could offer citizen science opportunities at Woodfordia on a monthly basis as part of the Treehugger gatherings. Participants are invited to explore different parts of Woodfordia’s wilderness, take photos of what they find and submit them to QuestaGame. Some bioquests will be tailored to explore specific organisms, with bio-experts providing education and engagement.

It is great fun spending the weekend connecting with Woodfordia’s beautiful nature in this unique way, while forming friendships with other participants. We hope that Questers will camp out and join in the evening fun by t he campfire to eat, sing and be merry, while the bandicoots scoot around thinking we can’t see them.

To join in this productive fun contact info@woodfordia.com.