From unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos to delving into the intricacies of the microscopic world, science offers endless opportunity for exploration and discovery.
Our vibrant science scene in Queensland allows you to learn about, and contribute to scientific knowledge, no matter where you live, your age or your education.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an eager enthusiast or a casual hobbyist, science is accessible to us all!
Here are some different ways you can get involved:
Participate in citizen science
If a hands-on approach sounds appealing, you may want to look for some citizen science projects to join.
Citizen science is scientific research conducted with participation from the public. The individuals involved will typically gather and share data, which expands the resources made available to the researcher, so they can have a deeper understanding of their project.
Regardless of your background or skillset, there is a citizen science project for everyone. On Monday you could be identifying celestial objects, and on Wednesday you could be observing wildlife.
Here are a few projects you can participate in from anywhere in Queensland:
Frog ID helps scientists learn more about what is happening to Australia’s frogs. Users submit audio recordings of frog calls via the FrogID app, experts then analyse these submissions and identify the species in conjunction with weather and habitat information.
This data has been helping scientists learn about frog diversity, distribution, and breeding behaviours like never before. Over 550,000 frog calls have been recorded by participants, resulting in just under a million frogs being verified.
Download the app and record your first frog call today!
Soils for Science
Soils for Science is a citizen science project dedicated to finding new antibiotics.
Over half of all antibiotics available today have originated from microorganisms found in soil and nature. With Australia being one of the most biodiverse environments in the world, it is a potential treasure trove of undiscovered microbes. Your backyard could help shape the future of healthcare!
All you need to do to get involved is request a soil kit, download their app, and set out to collect soil samples. Once collected, register them in the app and send them back using the postage-paid bag included in the kit.
QWildlife is the State Government’s official online reporting platform for crocodile and koala sightings.
Submit the details of your sighting, including the time, date, location, and behaviour of the animal. The QWildlife app also teaches you about Queensland’s native wildlife, how to stay safe while exploring their ecosystems, and provides an interactive map of recent sightings (and the Government’s response to them).
With over 22 million species records, Birdata is Australia’s largest bird monitoring platform, and is responsible for a number of citizen science initiatives, including Birds in Backyards, Birds on Farms , and Aussie Bird Count.
Information from Birdata serves as an early warning system for species in trouble. And considering almost 1 in 6 Australian birds are threatened with extinction, this information is crucial for guiding conservation efforts, assisting not only scientific research, but also governments making important policy and planning decisions.
To submit a survey, download the Birdata app.
If you want to find citizen science projects in your area or field of interest, you can easily explore the Australian Citizen Science Association's project finder. It's a handy tool that allows you to discover projects by location or preference. If you reside near a creek, for example, you might find a citizen science project that focuses on monitoring water quality.
While not technically citizen science, DES also offers plenty of volunteering opportunities, from constructing mountain bike paths to greeting National Park visitors. Filter them by your local area and get involved!
Your local university science department is another terrific way to find projects to participate in.
Find your local science museum
One of the best ways you can satisfy your thirst for scientific knowledge is by visiting your local science museum.
Unlike traditional classrooms or textbooks, science museums offer a unique and immersive learning environment through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and multimedia presentations that make scientific principles come to life.
You can witness demonstrations, conduct experiments, and manipulate exhibits to deepen your understanding of complex ideas.
Science museums also frequently showcase the latest advancements in scientific research. Visiting these exhibits helps you stay updated with the current state of scientific knowledge.
Usually, there are also outreach programs that partner with schools, community organisations, and other institutions which you could join.
Find your local museum on the Queensland Museum Network website.
Another resource you might find useful is the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist’s STEM learning opportunities page, which covers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education activities available throughout Queensland. Their blogs and articles are also top-notch.
Attend an event
Science museums, as well as university departments and other scientific societies and associations often host special events, workshops, and lectures that cater to an array of interests and age groups.
These events allow you to engage in meaningful conversations with experts and also provide a platform for networking and collaboration.
One key science event worth travelling to is the Brisbane and Queensland World Science Festival, an annual celebration of science in Brisbane and regional towns. And don’t forget the annual National Science Week in August, which features more than a thousand events around the country.
A valuable resource that can help you stay updated with the latest events is the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist’s website. You may also want to check out the Engaging Science Grant recipients in your area. Many of the recipients also hold interesting and educational events.
Engaging with science doesn't have to be limited to textbooks or documentaries.
You can immerse yourself in the world of scientific discovery by exploring local science museums, volunteering, attending events, and participating in citizen science projects.
Make sure to share your experiences with family and friends to make a real impact on your community and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop with Queensland’s latest science buzz!