The first NSW Environmental Trust CyberTracker cultural values monitoring workshops were held at Minyumai and Ngunya Jargoon IPAs from the 8th to the 12th of February. The aim of these initial workshops was to assess the ranger’s engagement, capacity and interest in learning how to use the CyberTracker software. The workshops were delivered by Dr. Emilie Ens (Macquarie University) and Oliver Costello (Firesticks) with assistance from Shaina Russell a PhD candidate from Macquarie University.
Emilie and Oliver with the support of Minyumai and Ngunya Jargoon IPAs won a competitive NSW Environmental Trust grant to develop a cross-cultural environmental monitoring tool for NSW IPAs. The grant will provide funding for the team to develop a cultural values monitoring program using CyberTracker over three years. The team will learn how to build the CyberTracker sequences and in effect create their own tailor made applications, which are purposely built to monitor cultural and ecological values unique to their IPAs. The grant also allows the team to share their knowledge and Apps with other NSW IPAs.
Equipment was supplied via the grant for the rangers to use at their IPAs- laptops and tablets were provided and will be left on the IPAs for the rangers to use the software and develop their monitoring skills. An output of the software includes the creation of a spatial map using GPS readings and recordings as well as creating tables, graphs and reports.
These initial workshops began with an overview of the CyberTracker software explaining how it was initially developed in Africa, and how it may be used to monitor cultural and ecological features over time. Rangers that attended the workshops from Minyumai and Ngunya Jargoon IPAs were engaged in the process and interested to trial the technology further within their respective properties. Emilie will be on-board over the 3 year period to assist the ranger groups in both utilising the technology in the field and downloading the data collected into a format suitable for reporting back to Government funding bodies.