Palaszczuk Government announces $580,000 for citizen science projects

Published Thursday, 25 July, 2019 at 12:53 PM

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

Citizen science projects across the state will benefit from a $580,000 investment from the Palaszczuk Government to encourage Queenslanders to get engaged in science.

Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch today announced that 21 projects are receiving funding as part of the Queensland Citizen Science Grants program.

“We want to boost participation in research projects and encourage researchers to work with Queensland’s citizen scientists,” Ms Enoch said.

“These incredible projects range from the ‘Queensland Wild Macadamia Hunt’ project, which encourages Queenslanders to collect macadamia leaves, to CoralWatch’s ‘Get Involved ­– Colours of the Reef’ project, which collects important data on reef health."

Ms Enoch said the Macadamia Hunt project, being run by Healthy Land and Water, was helping the $280 million Australian macadamia industry and the jobs it sustains.

“The macadamia nut industry was the first plant industry in Australia,” she said.

“At the Brisbane City Botanical Gardens, the Walter Hill Macadamia Tree was the first to be planted purposefully in 1858 to produce nuts and provide original seed stock.

“While Australia is the world’s major producer of macadamia nuts, wild macadamia trees are now under threat.

“It is why projects like Macadamia Hunt are so important, as it will help determine the best way to ensure they are protected.”

Healthy Land and Water CEO Julie McLellan said they would ask Queensland residents to find old macadamia trees and collect leaves for genetic analysis by Southern Cross University.

“Nuts from old trees, representing genes long lost, were planted in backyards across the state during the late 1800s and early 1900s. We believe that about 30,000 trees were planted in Brisbane alone,” Ms McLellan said.

“This is a huge repository of genetic material. By collecting this material, we hope we can help in conservation efforts as well as assist with genetic improvement for Australia’s macadamia industry.

“All species of macadamia are threatened in the wild, despite being common in cultivation. The issue is not only the potential loss of wild macadamia, but this loss of genetic diversity could be an issue for the industry if faced with disease and the unknowns of global climate change.

“The funding would not only increase scientific understanding, but there was a practical element with the aim of improving the resilience of the Australian macadamia industry and protecting the species in the wild,” Ms McLellan said.

Chair of the Australian Science Association – Queensland Chapter James Gullison said the Queensland citizen science community continues to grow and strengthen and it is exciting to see the range and diversity of the projects that have received grants.

“The timing of these grants could not be better as Queensland will host the Australian Citizen Science Conference in 2020. Science is entering an exciting period within Queensland and citizen science allows everyone and anyone to be an integral part of it,” Mr Gullison said.

Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Paul Bertsch said the Queensland Citizen Science Grants also supports Queensland researchers in their pursuit of scientific discovery.

“Citizen Scientists can contribute significantly to the capacity and scale of data collection, helping scientists better understand the environment and deliver science that contributes to better management and policy outcomes,” Professor Bertsch said.

A full list of Citizen Science Grant recipients is below. For more information visit:

Media contact: 0437 859 987


Queensland Citizen Science grant recipients:

  • SCF Events Pty Ltd from the Sunshine Coast for their Recreational Fishing Program – $29,950
  • Cooloola Coastcare for their Citizen Scientists Mapping Biodiversity: the Cooloola BioBlitz Series – $30,000
  • BirdLife Australia Ltd (Southern Queensland Branch) for the Powerful Owl project of southern Queensland – $29,485
  • Cairns and Far North Environment Centre for their MangroveWatch Cairns project – $29,980
  • Fitzroy Basin Association for the Team Turtle Central Queensland project – $30,000
  • Professor Robert Capon from the University of Queensland for the Cane Toad Challenge – $30,000
  • Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee for the fauna nest box monitoring project – $21,070
  • CoralWatch and the University of Queensland for the ‘Get Involved – Colours of the Reef’ project – $29,022
  • Healthy Land and Water for the Queensland Wild Macadamia Hunt – $29,996
  • Sharks and Rays Australia in Cairns for the citizen scientist sawfish program – $27,950
  • Gold Coast Catchment Association for ‘Gold Coast BioBlitz I-III’ – $30,000
  • Griffith University for developing and implementing new digital tools to enhance citizen-science bird banding efforts in Queensland – $30,000
  • North Queensland Natural History Group for the Gouldian Finch study and awareness raising – $29,700
  • Fraser Island Defenders Organisation for the K’gari nursery project: best practices in native plant propagation for ecosystem regeneration – $25,440
  • The Hut Environmental and Community Association, based at Moggill, for the ‘Evaluation of Large-scale Tree Plantings in Brisbane’ project – $16,425
  • QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute for the ‘STEM Champion Mozzie Hunters’ project – $30,000
  • Woodfordia Inc in the Glass House Mountains on the Sunshine Coast for their mycology research project – $29,571
  • Queensland Trust for Nature to expand knowledge of biodiversity values on private land project with the pilot at Aroona Reserve – $29,500
  • The Secondary Campus of Tagai College on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait for their ‘Precious Plastics’ project – $14,025
  • Conservation Volunteers Australia for their conservation efforts in marine debris collection and analysis – $29,500
  • Metro South Hospital and Health Service, South Brisbane for ‘The Dignity Project’ – to examine the interactions and experiences of Queenslanders with disabilities – $30,000