An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

UWA students recognise the benefits of participating in ClimateWatch

Nadia Sloan and Farley Kwok Van Der Giezen are science students at The University of Western Australia (UWA). They became members of ClimateWatch earlier this year and started recording observations as part of their biology unit.

 Nadia and Farley

Nadia pushed herself to record in a range of locations. She visited Kings Park on weekends and continued recording when she was 250km from Perth in her hometown Kojonup for the holidays. Nadia enjoyed getting outside and recording observations and says, "it’s like having a break from uni work, but it’s good to know its still part of your work and you’re still doing something towards your marks."

Biology students earned credit for making observations, however as Nadia and Farley show the benefits of participating go beyond their grades. "ClimateWatch made me more aware of what was going on with local plants and animals… So I was actively looking at different trees and knowing what they were and what they were doing," says Farley. He recognises that ClimateWatch has had a lasting effect on him as he is still paying attention to phenological changes in plants and animals around him.

As part of this course students also used data recordings from ClimateWatch to create a report about their chosen ClimateWatch species. Nadia and Farley worked on a report about the flowering times of Jacaranda trees.  Nadia says the group decided to focus on the South American native because, "they are so bright and colourful and it’s obvious when Jacaranda’s are flowering."

Farley lives in Fremantle and watched the local Jacaranda’s from his house from the start of semester. He noticed differences between trees on his way to and from uni and made most of his recordings on these trees. He also enjoyed getting outside to take some photos of the Jacaranda’s when they were beginning to flower. 

Jacaranda in FremantleFlowering Jacaranda in Fremantle

Most students that participated noted that they were very careful to make accurate recordings for the program after trying to use the data themselves. Nadia and Farley explained they came across a few questionable observations of Jacaranda’s in the middle of the ocean. "I am trying to put my points in as accurately as I can… People are doing it because they want to and so they are trying to do it as well as they can," says Nadia. "The whole recording system is quite easy. The information given about what to look for is great," say Farley and Nadia agrees, "I didn’t find ClimateWatch difficult at all!"

The new ClimateWatch iPhone app has proven to make inputs even easier and both students are keen to download the app and continue recording day-to-day observations.