An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

Frequently Asked Questions at Piney Lakes Reserve

Here are some of the most common questions and answers from the Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre's ClimateWatch trail.

 Penny explains ClimateWatch
Environmental Education staff explain ClimateWatch at Piney Lakes Reserve (Photo by Tony Issakov)

Q. Does everyone in the group need to enter their data from an organised tour, even if it is exactly the same data? Won't this alter the data that the scientists use?

It is still equally as important to enter data, even it is all from the same time/location and species. It enables the scientists analysing the data to ensure there is consistency in the observations, and the participants at that site are getting the correct direction from their guides.

Q. Is Piney Lakes the only place I can come and make observations?

No! It is essential to the legitimacy of the data collected that this can happen in as many different locations as possible. Weather patterns are changing and climates are different over all parts of Australia, plus different species are found in different areas. Piney Lakes is only home to some of the indicator species for ClimateWatch. Piney Lakes is a host site to help people to learn about climate change and the importance of aiding scientists in their research. So come to Piney lakes to learn about ClimateWatch, and then spread the word and continue making observations wherever you might see one of the indicator species.


Q. Do I have to keep coming back to Piney Lakes organised group sessions in order to make my observations?

No - again! If you are confident that you are familiar with the indicator species and can identify them on your own, and also enter data onto the ClimateWatch website, we encourage you to do this of your own accord and in your own space. You are also welcome to return to the trail at Piney Lakes Reserve whenever you wish, to walk it alone or with friends, and enter your data at home. We invite attendees to return should they not feel confidant in the ClimateWatch process yet. That is why some people choose to attend more than one information session.


Q. Are the species in the pocket guide the only species I can record for?

Not at all. There are many indicator species that have been identified all over Australia - including marine species for coastal areas. The species in the pocket guide are those that we chose for this particular site only; they are the animals and plants that we are confidant of seeing at Piney Lakes on a regular basis. But keep your eyes open - there may be more that aren't even in the pocket guides, such as birds that are rare to the area or just passing through. They may be in search of a new habitat as others are destroyed.


Q. If I see a (eg:) bobtail lizard in my yard, should I record my observation for Climatewatch?

Absolutely. Please do! We want to gather as much data as we can, over all weather patterns and seasons, in as many different locations as possible. This will aid in more comprehensive data to be used as the basis of understanding the impacts of changes in rainfall and temperature.


Q. There is a (eg:) magpie that is in our yard every day. Are you asking that we record information for ClimateWatch on this magpie every time we see it?

No, we would not ask you to record your observations every time. We would specifically like you to record the behaviours that are listed for that species. As in the magpie, if it is feeding, courting, calling, on chicks, on eggs, on a nest or feeding young. If you observe it eg: feeding or calling, every day, use your own judgment to decide if anything is particularly different on that day - eg: weather or if there are more of them around. Otherwise, it would be nice if you could record an observation once a week.


Q. I have a marri tree in my front yard - can I record observations on this marri tree too, or just the ones at Piney Lakes?

Absolutely! We would prefer that if you have a regular area that you walk around - eg: your yard, a park, etc, that you keep an eye on it and make regular observations on the indicator species you see.


Do you have a question about ClimateWatch?  Contact us and we will help.