Grampians National Park visitors and region's students are recording the plants and animals within the area.
Trekking the Venus Baths loop walk, more than 100 students from Halls Gap, Moyston, Pomonal and Ararat primary schools recently completed the ClimateWatch activity, a 'citizen science' program operating throughout Australia.
Departing from the Botanic Gardens, visitors are asked to record observations on a Field Recording Sheet or by using the ClimateWatch app on mobile phones.
Observations include not only the presence of certain birds, frogs, insects, reptiles, plants and spiders, but their behaviours, such as whether animals are feeding, nesting, or calling, and whether plants are flowering.
Parks Victoria's community engagement ranger Hannah Auld said there were many simple ways to help care for our national parks, such as by staying on formed tracks and taking home rubbish.
"The ClimateWatch trail at Venus Baths offers an easy entry into citizen science, helping to build a picture of how a section of the Grampians environment changes over time," she said.
"Anybody can participate, and it's been so encouraging to see local schools showing the way. I've been amazed by how much the students already know about the local environment and the threats facing our native plants and animals."
Victoria's parks and reserves protect many important environments within a broader landscape that is changing. They play a crucial role in protecting biodiversity, providing clean air and water, regulating climate, maintaining healthy waterways, preventing soil erosion, maintaining genetic resources, providing habitat for native species and pollination.
With one third of Victoria's flora, a wide range of wildlife and significant Aboriginal cultural heritage values, the Grampians National Park is an important study area for the effects of climate change on the environment.
Parks Victoria hopes that more people will complete the activity on the Venus Baths trail as part of long-term monitoring of local species and their changing behaviour. People can do the walk at any time, while school groups can contact Parks Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about ClimateWatch can be found at www.climatewatch.org.au.
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