Media Release


ClimateWatch Trail Launched for Parliament House, Canberra



Bird watching and plant spotting were on the Federal Parliamentary Agenda in Canberra yesterday with the launch of a ClimateWatch Trail for Parliament House and the Capital Hill Precinct. 

The Hon. Mark Dreyfus MP, Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister and Cabinet
and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency,
officially launching the ClimateWatch Trail.

Earthwatch Australia has taken citizen science directly to the Federal Parliament of Australia with the release of a special ClimateWatch Trail which will provide Members of Parliament, staff, media and visitors to the Parliament the opportunity to help develop a database for scientists on Australia's flora and fauna.

The project was launched yesterday by the Hon. Mark Dreyfus MP, Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister and Cabinet and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Kelvin Thompson MP, the Federal Member for Wills, with a wide knowledge of birds in Australia, also attended.

Kelvin Thompson MP, Federal Member for Wills

Left: Earthwatch Team Rachel Maitland, Richard Gilmore
and Celina Chan at the launch.

The Hon. Mark Dreyfus MP being presented with an Earthwatch tee shirt
by appreciation of the official launch of the ClimateWatch Trail.

After signing on as ClimateWatchers, guests at the release of the ClimateWatch Trail took to the Parliamentary gardens for some bird watching and plant spotting using laptops to record their observations.

The Hon. Mark Dreyfus MP with Dr Lynda Chambers, from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research,
[CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology partnership] checking information on the ClimateWatch Trail.

Richard Gilmore, Executive Director of Earthwatch Australia said, "By observing and recording changes in plant and animal behavior in response to rainfall and temperature around the Federal Parliamentary precinct, people participating in the project will be helping scientists better understand and monitor the natural environment in Canberra."

The Federal Parliament ClimateWatch Trail map, which includes the Capital Hill Precinct where many MPs and others use for walking, running or cycling, was distributed to Members and staff in Parliament and is now available online.

ClimateWatch was developed by Earthwatch, a not-for-profit conservation organisation, aimed at encouraging people to take notice of what is happening in the environment and record information online to contribute to The Atlas of Living Australia.

Guests recording their observations at Parliament House Canberra.

In attendance at the ClimateWatch Trail Launch at Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday 25 May 2011 were -
Dr Lynda Chambers, Senior Scientist, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Bureau of Meteorology
Peter Clough, Government Affairs Manager, Woodside Energy
Daphne Morros, Chief Adviser, Corporate Relations, Rio Tinto
Petrina Raitt, Environmental Approvals Coordinator, Woodside Energy
Avi Rebera, Senior Partner Government Business, National Australia Bank
Bernadette Enright, Communications Office, Leighton Contractors
Peter Doherty, Program Manager, Atlas of Living Australia
Owen Butler, Atlas of Living Australia
Donald Hobern, Director, Atlas of Living Australia
Stuart Pearson, Australian Defence Force Academy
Simon Winter, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
Richard Lindsay, CEO, Urban Development Industry Australia
Richard Gilmore, Executive Director, Earthwatch Australia
Celina Chan, Marketing Assistant, Earthwatch Australia
Rachel Maitland, Research and Learning Coordinator, Earthwatch Australia

Rio Tinto is the founding sponsor of ClimateWatch and the program is supported by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and the University of Melbourne. Leighton Contractors and Woodside are major sponsors.

Online ClimateWatch Trail Link Capital Hill, Canberra

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Corporate Media Communications, Earthwatch - Mobile: 0417 329 201