Bush Blitz Returns from the Highlands
The latest Bush Blitz expedition has returned from the central highlands of Tasmania. The team of 29 scientists, project staff, and BHP Billiton employees, spent ten intensive days researching the plant and animal species of this wild corner of Australia.
Bush Blitz volunteers catching butterflies in a liverwort meadow.
Bush Blitz is an innovative partnership between BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities, the Australian government, and Earthwatch Australia, with the ambitious goal of identifying, mapping, and understanding biodiversity across the Australian continent.
In total, 17 scientists from various institutions came together to collect data on native species and vegetation in the area. Andrew Tennent was one of the eight BHP Billiton staff taking part in Bush Blitz. He mentions in his blog, "I've ventured into the bush in various parts of Australia many times over the years. I've always enjoyed the trees, the shrubs and undergrowth, the birds and the occasional reptile and animal that crossed my path. The sound of the wind in the trees or the trickle of a creek completes the scene. This was the framework that I took into the Bush Blitz...It has been a great opportunity to explore the Tasmanian Central Highlands and to discover the many layers that make up the biodiversity of our environment. I take home a renewed interest in the bush and an interest and respect for the work that is being done to understand the species that inhabit it and make it the fantastic place that it is."
A helena gum moth.
One of the scientists said it was "great to go out into the field with people that have fresh eyes and to teach and pass on the knowledge that we have gathered as scientists and subject matter specialists over many years."
Some of the top species documented were: 100 species of spider, five true bug species that are believed to be totally new to science, 280 different types of plant, 35 species of liverwort, 80 species of moth, 24 species of snail, and a range of important beetle, butterfly, and dragonfly species.
These amazing findings and partnerships signify why Bush Blitz is an important program, and we can't wait to keep you updated on more results. The next expedition will be held at the end of May in the Kimberleys in Western Australia. Five lucky teachers from schools across Australia will have the opportunity to assist the program scientists and inspire their students live from the field as part of the Bush Blitz TeachLive program.