Free plant health check kit for kids' citizen science project

Biosecurity Warrior Alexis Coffey-Bailey explores her backyard with a magnifying macro lens from the free NSW DPI plant health and biosecurity activity pack. Photo supplied
Biosecurity Warrior Alexis Coffey-Bailey explores her backyard with a magnifying macro lens from the free NSW DPI plant health and biosecurity activity pack. Photo supplied

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has invited local children to celebrate National Science Week this August 15 to 23, with a free plant health pack to explore biosecurity in the backyard, and an invitation to enjoy digital adventures from home on the Sydney Science Trail.

NSW DPI plant pathologist, Jordan Bailey, said everyone from toddlers to teenagers and adults can join in the trail's mission to save planet Earth for a whole month from August 15.

"In partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and Australian Museum, NSW DPI encourages everyone to join the Sydney Science Trail's free online quest, with interactive games, live-streamed talks, explosive science shows and virtual tours hosted by leading scientists and researchers at www.sydneysciencetrail.net.au," Dr Bailey said.

"NSW DPI has developed its own interactive page where kids and adults can join the Biosecurity Warrior to explore plants, what makes them healthy and nasty biosecurity threats which can affect them.

"We aim to increase awareness of the importance of biosecurity and show how everyone can play their part in protecting Australia's plants from exotic pests and diseases."

A free NSW DPI plant health and biosecurity activity pack can be ordered online from Eventbrite at www.biosecuritywarrior.eventbrite.com.au. Packs will be posted in the mail.

The pack includes a magnifying macro lens for smart phones, to explore the micro world in your own backyard, balcony or paddock and take shots of suspicious pests and diseases to send to the NSW DPI Plant Biosecurity Hotline.

Dr Bailey said NSW DPI and the Science Hub of Orange, Cowra and Cabonne will introduce you to real-life biosecurity warriors who work in plant health sciences.

"They have produced short videos for National Science Week, with a live webinar where you can chat with the specialists.

"Living through a pandemic, we all know how fast infections can spread around the globe and the same threats exist for our plants, in the environment and crops.

"Governments do all they can to monitor, detect and stop these exotic pests and diseases from establishing, but we need your help.

"The more people we have on the lookout for plant pests and diseases, who let us know when they find something of concern, puts us all in a better position to protect our future!

"We encourage everyone to get involved and enjoy Science Week this year."