Food Glorious Food

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Wei-Yeen, a BioBlitz participant volunteering in the kitchen at Tarkine BioBlitz.

When organising an event such as Tarkine BioBlitz, it is the important work of volunteers that help bring together a successful event.

A priceless ingredient to a successful community event is food glorious food, and at the Bob Brown Foundation we aim to offer wholesome and organic food. Our kitchen coordinator Lisa Searle is one person who is working many hours to feed the 100 people gathering for BioBlitz.

We have had donations from generous businesses including Pigeon Whole Bakery, Harvest Feast, Help Yourself Wholefoods, Old School Farm, Youngs Vegie Shed and Eumarrah Hobart.

 Jenny Weber

 

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Lisa Searle and Sarah Harmer in the TarkineBioBlitz kitchen

 

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Harvest Feast’s Michelle

 

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Tasmanian Devils in the Tarkine

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Several infrared fauna cameras have been set up at the Tarkine Bioblitz research sites over the past few days to capture wildlife frequenting the areas. Just one camera was checked yesterday and so far two distinctly different devils have been photographed in the Dempster Plains (see below).

Although DFTD (devil facial tumour disease) has been confirmed in the Tarkine region – these two devils caught on fauna camera appear healthy. Threats to endangered Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) in Tasmania’s Tarkine include: roadkill, DFTD and habitat destruction such as land clearing for dairy farms, logging and mining.

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DEVIL SURVIVAL IN THE WILD

In order to reduce devil deaths, people can try to avoid driving at dusk or in the dark when devils are more likely to be out and about. If driving at these times cannot be avoided, make sure to drive slowly at night. Maintaining habitat for devils ensures that devils have safe places to live now and into the future, especially now that devils are being reintroduced into the wild in Tasmania by the State Government. With so much money going into breeding these devils, and so much to lose if they die, we must ensure they are given every chance to survive.

Keep following our blog to see more wildlife we photograph in the wild during our Tarkine BioBlitz.

Colette Harmsen

 

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BioBlitz has begun

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BioBlitz has begun. Photo: Debby Ng

BioBlitz has begun and science is quietly taking over the Riverbend Camp – the pool table has morphed into an ecology library, the ping pong table is proudly supporting a computer hub and the latest spectator sport has keen blitzers lining up to gaze down the tubes of a binocular microscope at a stunning slime mould specimen. The ex-pool table is surrounded by readers riveted by mysteries revealed in books of intrigue such as Where the Slime Moulds Creep; Tree Hollows in Tasmania and Tasmanian Plant Names Unravelled. Animated discussions about data collection, camera traps, algae nets, frog croaks and fungi fundamentals are being had over a yummy dessert of baked bananas smothered in chocolate sauce. What a wonderful place to be!

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Photo: Debby Ng

Yesterday afternoon scientists and friends of nature travelled to this remote corner of our precious planet from around Tasmania and the mainland to meet the myriad known and unknown inhabitants of the Tarkine wilderness. Survey groups on the coast and plains will find and identify as many species as they can over the next 3 days. From orchid spotting to spider sightings, our understanding of the ecology of the Tarkine is about to take a great leap forward, supporting ongoing efforts to have this environmental treasure recognized, respected and protected. We want the orchids, spiders, algae, creepy crawlies, furry friends, great trees, slime moulds and rock pool dwellers to be safe for ever in this rare and remarkable haven. To help them, we need to find them!

Today high school students are joining the Tarkine BioBlitz and other Blitzers are heading out to the coast.

In the days to come we’ll keep you updated on our experiences and discoveries, so stay tuned.
 
Helen Cushing

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Countdown to the Tarkine BioBlitz

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Sebastien Comte in the forest near Dempster Plains. Photo: Nicole Anderson

Tasmania’s first BioBlitz begins today, with more than 20 survey leaders coming together for an orientation day to prepare for 2 ½ days of intensive biodiversity surveys and educational activities.

Traditional biodiversity surveys are done by rare and elusive subspecies of human: field biologists, taxonomists and naturalists. Here at a BioBlitz we can observe these creatures in their natural habitat, engaging in their natural behaviour – which is looking for other creatures. A BioBlitz is a unique opportunity for experts and enthusiasts alike to share a passion for nature, whatever that passion may be. Some people are really into algae, myxomycetes or spiders. And maybe you would be too if they showed you their world.

Only around ten BioBlitzes have been held in Australia so far, but that number is sure to increase as the concept becomes better known. In the UK there are dozens of BioBlitzes every year – and they are typically looking at urban parks and farmland! In Australia we are lucky to have truly wild places with less well known biodiversity. Places like the Tarkine, where the environment encompasses rugged windswept coastline, unique buttongrass moorland and some of the best examples of temperate rainforest in the world.

Using a wide range of survey techniques, the Tarkine BioBlitz will focus on two distinct locations and explore the biodiversity of these amazing places. More than 100 people are coming to the Tarkine to take part in this exploration of the region’s biodiversity. What secrets will the Tarkine reveal to us?

Nick Fitzgerald

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BioBlitzing the Tarkine

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Photo: Nicole Anderson

Next time you walk outside, take a moment to look beyond the concrete, roads and buildings and instead notice the sky, the trees and the soil.   We are lucky to live on a planet that is so beautiful, so diverse.  Indeed, Planet Earth is estimated to be home to more than 10 million species of plants and animals.  Yet less than 2 million of these species have been documented.  This means that as we lose our wild places, we are destroying precious plants and animals before we even know they exist.

Surely this destruction is happening somewhere else?  Perhaps in some war-torn country ruled by despots?  No!  It is happening right here in Australia.  Consider, for example, the Tarkine in north-western Tasmania.  We know that it contains spectacular diversity just from looking at it.  We know that it used to be part of Gondwanaland.  We know it contains fossils dating back millions of years.  We know it contains the largest freshwater invertebrate in the world, the prehistoric Freshwater Crayfish.  We know that it is a safe haven for the iconic Tasmanian Devil away from the devastating disease that has seen the loss of up to 95% of the population.    

The real truth, however, is that we know very little about biodiversity in the Tarkine, and that what we do know is clearly not enough to stop the rampant logging and mining taking place right now.    Bob Brown Foundation is convinced that this situation must change.  Our first step along the road to change is a “BioBlitz”; a four day intensive ecological survey, conducted by leading Australian scientists.  From rockpools to forest canopies, the scientists will explore this magnificent wilderness and document what’s there.  Armed with that information, we will publish that data and use it to ensure the Tarkine is protected forever.  

This blog will be updated daily during the BioBlitz from 19 – 22 November.  Please keep an eye on it!

Shelley Waterland

 

Read about the Tarkine BioBlitz in our media release.

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Pre BioBlitz Setup

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Photo: Nicole Anderson

In preparation for the Tarkine BioBlitz later this week, Nicole Anderson guided some of the scientists around the survey sites.

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