The upcoming Planting Festival (May 3-5th), is not only about planting trees and other plants, but also ideas about how to conserve and regenerate out planet. The BioDiscovery Project hosted by The Planting Festival, will see scientists and citizens engaging Woodfordia’s biodiversity; from the very tiny microscopic life to the very visible, colourful and furry. The species which make our life possible have been continually and symbiotically evolving over millions of years, but many face extinction as we continue to warm the globe. However, in the doom and gloom of the very real severity of what humanity is facing, seeds of hope still thrive.
The Planting Festival celebrates biodiversity in nature and in culture, embracing life through the efforts of thousands of hands coming together over the last two decades to revegetate the now beautiful landscape that is Woodfordia. This evolving landscape of cultural and botanical diversity continually births and supports thousands of species of wildlife, many of which are still unknown to science. Last year a new species of spider was discovered at The Planting, named Lehtinelagia woodfordia. Through the efforts of scientists and citizen scientists, many of whom were children with their parents, close to 300 species of wildlife were documented through QuestaGame, a biodiversity research app.
Woodfordia’s Environmental Projects Officer and a passionate biologist, Dr. Sandra Tuszynska, endeavours to discover all of the creatures which inhabit Woodfordia;
“From bioluminescent fungi, to giant beetles and iridescent moths, Woodfordia is truly a land of magic, where community efforts create and celebrate biodiversity. The Planting is a one of a kind event, demonstrating the power of a community who gather to nurture the land, receiving back the incredible gifts of biodiversity and wonder. It is all about sowing seeds of hope for future generations, through conservation, science, art and hands-on education.”
The BioDiscovery Project will contribute to the stock take and appreciation of what community efforts have contributed to growing Woodfordia’s biodiversity. Scientists who specialise in the various lifeforms be it fungi, mosses, spiders or insects will engage patrons in the scientific methods of biodiversity research. Using QuestaGame, citizen scientists will have the opportunity to contribute to Woodfordia’s biodiversity research in a fun and meaningful way in the field, and at the DiscoveryLab; a place for intimate discussions with bio-experts and microscopic observation of the various lifeforms which support life on Earth.
On this year’s Planting Festival menu, Australia’s celebrated biologist Tim Low will discuss The New Nature in the light of how humanity’s influences help some species to thrive, while Robert Whyte endeavours to find another one or more new species of spiders. Professor Jean Mark Hero, will lead us on a frog quest, while Wayne Boatright, the president of the Queensland Mycological Society will explain how to identify fungi. We will explore the tiny forests of mosses and other Bryophytes with Andrew Franks, and we will look under the microscope at the root symbiotic fungi which sequester carbon from the atmosphere into soils. There will be much discussion about how to remediate, halt and reverse climate change, while the Citizen Science Panel with James Gullison and Caitlin Syme from the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Citizen Science Association, will discuss how we can become involved in various citizen science projects for a brighter future. To explore the Planting Festival programme visit https://theplantingfestival.com/programme/.