Eureka Prize for indigenous citizen science

31 August 2017

The research team is a unique collaboration between scientists and Aboriginal people in remote south-eastern Arnhem Land that is building knowledge about country and how local people can better manage it.

The Ngukurr Wi Stadi bla Kantri (We Study the Country) Research Team has been awarded the 2017 Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science, for a project developing tools for cross-cultural biodiversity assessment, with national applications.

Over the last nine years the team has discovered species new to science, found new populations of threatened species, preserved culturally-significant wetlands, and documented the community’s plants and animals in eight local languages.

Led by ecologist Dr Emilie Ens from Macquarie University and Ngandi Elder Cherry Wulumirr Daniels, this citizen science research is also working with the Yugul Mangi Rangers to better manage the new threats facing their country - like feral animals, weeds, climate change and altered fire regimes.

“This work is based on 10 years of collaboration with Ngukurr community in remote Northern Territory. I am so proud our work has been recognised as Innovation in Citizen Science and to have shared the Awards evening with three inspiring young leaders from Ngukurr who are now studying at Macquarie and our funding partners The Nature Conservancy and the Atlas of Living Australia. We couldn’t have achieved this without them and the support of Ngukurr Elders, community, school and of course the Yugul Mangi Rangers where it all began, especially Cherry Wulumirr Daniels and Julie Roy,” said Dr Ens.

(excerpt from the Macquarie University Newsroom)

In collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia, the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis funded part of this work as a two-way indigenous engagement case study.