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Citizen Science funding open grants to support reef health

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By Julia Contrucci

Until March 9th, scientists, organisations and community groups are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $30,000 under the second round of the Palaszczuk Government’s Citizen Science Grants program.

“Anyone can be a citizen scientist, and engage with projects that provide valuable data, skills, knowledge and advice for scientific research that may not otherwise have been available,” said Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch about the program launched almost one year ago, along with the Queensland Citizen Science Strategy.

“These incredible projects range from monitoring coral health in the Great Barrier Reef to planting native vegetation on K’gari (Fraser Island), as well as projects observing and collecting data on threatened species such as the powerful owl, sawfishes, turtles, macadamia trees, and fungi.”

Last year 21 projects across Queensland shared in $580,000 under the first round of funding. This time around, an additional $180,000 was allocated to citizen science projects that will help improve the health of, and protect, the Great Barrier Reef.

“This additional funding will support on-ground action and empower communities in reef regions to be actively involved in protecting the reef,” Ms Enoch said.

Previous grant recipient CoralWatch, based at The University of Queensland, received almost $30,000 last year, which has enabled them to help educate the community about the issues faced by the Great Barrier Reef.

Professor Justin Marshall, the founder of CoralWatch, said the funding helps encourage more people to get involved in reef citizen science projects. “Part of the funding for our CoralWatch Ambassador workshop goes towards training 14 reef enthusiasts who will help spread the message of how to save the reef,” Professor Marshall said.

“CoralWatch is not just about monitoring the reef, but also engaging the community through hands-on learning and awareness raising to help secure the future of our reefs.”

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