Projects you can join in
Sign up for the next round of Koala Spotting or Intrepid Koala Scat Surveying…
As part of a state-wide survey, working the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage we’ve just completed over 150 surveys covering a huge area including some remote country across the mountains. Our survey sites ranged from Hampton and Jenolan in the west to Penrith in the east. The photo below shows some of the areas we explored, shown in red grids. A big thanks to all of the volunteers who helped out!
We have some more surveys coming up, this time with a better chance of finding koala poop. Our next project involves carrying out more intensive koala scat surveys across a range of different habitats in the region of Kanangra-Boyd National Park and the Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys. This is an area where koalas used to occur in big numbers historically and we think they’re starting to move back in. Our aim is to find which habitats they like the best, and maybe discover how far they’re moving from the National Park. If you join our koala scat surveys you’ll also encounter scats from other species along the way, learn about scat identification techniques and will pick up some basic eucalypt identification skills as we identify the tree species in each habitat we survey. Scat surveys are a great way to discover what different species have been up to when no-one was around to observe them. Come and learn the art of scatology!
We are undertaking ecological studies of koalas in and around Kanangra-Boyd, and our next koala capture session is coming up in early May. The aim is to find koalas, catch them and give them a health check, and fit them with a VHF tracking device to monitor them. We need more eyes to search the bush, so we’re looking for volunteers to come Koala Spotting. A photo from our last trip below shows a koala being released back into the mountain mists of Kanangra, so make sure you have the right gear including waterproof and warm layers. Please note that volunteers won’t be involved in the capture, we keep the team small for that to reduce stress on the koala, but you can normally watch the koala being released.
Dates and Locations
All activities will be in the region between Hartley and south into Kanangra-Boyd. It’s a good idea to organise overnight accomodation if you’re coming from Sydney as it’s a long drive. There is range of accomodation available in the upper Blue Mountains, and some camp grounds nearby to the sites. Once you register we’ll let you know which area we’ll be surveying on the days you can make it.
Koala Spotting – Tuesday 30th April to Sunday 5th May inclusive.
Kanangra Koala Scat Surveys – Saturday 11th May to 7th June, roughy 4 days a week including weekends.
You’ll need your own transport, or otherwise to arrange a car pool with other volunteers as there is no public transport to the survey sites. All survey sites will be accessible by 2WD vehicle, otherwise we will ferry you in our 4WD from an agreed meeting point for that day.
The survey locations can be remote so you must be competent in bushwalking off-track, ie through sometimes thick understorey vegetation, and up and down forested slopes. Some sites will be on ridgelines, others in valleys and along creek lines. A reasonable level of fitness is required as sometimes the slopes are steep. For Koala Spotting, you’ll be in larger supervised group, for scat surveys groups will be smaller and involve walking into more remote areas, A team leader will take you to each site using a GPS. It takes a while to get your eye in for scat counts, so we’d like all participants to commit to helping for a minimum of 2 days. Beyond that, you can come out as often as you’d like!
Using the form below, please include details of when and how you’d like to help:
1. Koala Spotting – which days you can join in.
2. Kanangra Scat Surveys – if you can do weekends or week days and and we’ll get back to you with some options.
Please include your phone number so we can notify you of any changes to the survey schedule due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.
You’ll need to enable pop-ups on your web browser for the form to work – keep an eye out for the warning when you click “subscribe”.
The Blue Mountains Koala Project is supported by San Diego Zoo Global, who provide core funding for our ecological studies. Science for Wildlife is also working in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, who are providing support for us to map koala distribution and engage communities in local actions.
Is there a minimum age requirement to take part?
The surveys involve long days in the field, plus a lot of walking. For that reason the event is not suitable for children under the age of 16.
What should I bring into the event?
There are no shops nearby so you’ll need to bring a day-pack and carry your own water (a guide is 2L per person per day, more in hot weather), lunch and snacks, plus sunblock and insect repellent. A personal First Aid kit is also a good idea, your team leader will also have a First Aid kit. Wear hiking boots with ankle support, and long trousers (bring gaiters if you have them), plus a long-sleeved shirt and hat. The bush can be spikey so leggings are not advisable, and gloves can be handy (pun intended). The weather in the mountains is changeable so bring a waterproof jacket and appropriate layers to stay warm. Please check the weather forecast before you leave. There are no toilets nearby so be prepared to make a bush toilet stop if needed (dig a hole and bury your waste, at least 100m from any waterway).
How can I contact the organiser with any questions?
Send an email to us.
During the event and during other fieldwork in the coming months we will be out of mobile phone coverage so email is the most reliable method of contacting us. Once you register you’ll receive contact phone numbers for our team, but please note that messages might not be received until the end of each day, or possibly the next day.
Please note that once you’ve registered we’ll be sending you some more information by email.