ABOVE: Jim Morrison at his property near Cherry Tree State Forest with supporters who are collecting information on the forest. Photo: Susanna Freymark
A group of citizen scientists have the Epicollect5 app ready on their mobile phones.
They are at Jim and Lesley Morrison’s property on Old Lawrence Rd near Cherry Tree State Forest.
“Look out for koala scat,” Jim tells the group. “And for the V-shaped gnaw marks on trees from yellow bellied gliders.”
The group of 15 volunteers nod. They form part of the Stand Up For Cherry Tree Forest group.
The data they’re collecting is used by activist groups to inform the EPA, Forestry Corporation and in court cases.
Sean O’Hannessy reminds the group to add the data they see to the app.
“Do it before you leave the property,” he said.
Sean has no problem spending his Sunday in the forest adding data into an app.
“I’d rather spend my time doing something to protect the forest ecosystem. It is the most meaningful and fun thing to do on a Sunday.”
Jim is an ecologist and has lived on his property for 40 years.
“I love the forest,” he said.
“I’d like to see no more logging and see this forests as a wildlife corridor between the borders of the two national parks.”
Victoria and Western Australia are phasing out forestry in native forests, Jim said.
“The carbon sequestration of the forest is of more value than the wood.”
Sean wants to see an end to logging native forests and for the Forest Corporation of NSW to source wood from plantations.
The younger ones in the group head off to a part of the forest further away. The others have a cup of tea before Jim takes them to the forest close by to explain what to look for.
Look up for koalas, he said and look down at the forest floor for indications of animal activity.
The activities of the group in collecting scientific data and storing it in the app has the potential to shape decisions about the future of Cherry Tree State Forest and others across NSW.