Kelcey Tier wildflowers. Photo: Devonport City Council.
Devonport · 2023

Each naturalist and scientist leading the surveys has a special area of expertise, to help us discover and identify as many species as possible during the BioBlitz.

  • Philip Milner

    Philip Milner Botanist

    Central North Field Naturalists

    Surveys: native plants

    At Kelcey Tier Greenbelt, there are several different forest types and other ecosystems for plants to live in — so we have the chance to find lots of species for the big BioBlitz list! Local botanist Phil Milner will take us through the reserve on A plant journey of discovery. We’ll discover a wide range of native plants, keeping an eye out for species that are listed as rare and threatened; then we’ll bring some samples back to our microscopes and identification keys at Basecamp. Phil will provide tips and techniques on how to look out for these plants in the wild and identify them, and we can discuss why they’re important.

  • Katya Bandow

    Katya Bandow Botanist

    University of Tasmania

    Surveys: native plants

    After a period studying the ecology of eucalypt forests and alpine grasslands, University of Tasmania botany PhD candidate Katya Bandow is now focusing her research on conifer biogeography and adaptation to frost and drought. You can find out more about her on the Young Tassie Scientists website. She’ll be joining Phil Milner for A plant journey of discovery.

  • Kristi Ellingsen

    Kristi Ellingsen Science teacher

    Field Guide to the Insects of Tasmania

    Surveys: insects and micro-creatures

    To get the big species numbers for our BioBlitz, we need to look for insects! As both science teacher and co-founder of the fantastic online resource Field Guide to the Insects of Tasmania, Kristi Ellingsen is the perfect person to help us all contribute by finding and — the big challenge — identifying lots of different insects. During the Incredible Insects surveys, Kristi’s team will take groups of us to look around the site. We’ll bring the less familiar insects back to our microscopes and identification keys at Basecamp, where she will show us how to become identification experts ourselves. Let’s see what we can find and identify!

  • Sarah Lloyd

    Sarah Lloyd Naturalist

    Central North Field Naturalists, Westbury Backyard Bandicoots, BirdLife Tasmania

    Surveys: birds and slime moulds

    Walk with local naturalist, writer and photographer Sarah Lloyd around Kelcey Tier Greenbelt to enjoy Breakfast with the birds — and more… Sarah has published several books about natural history including ‘Bush Birds, a photographic guide’ a small booklet to assist in identifying bush and forest birds, and ‘Where the slime mould creeps’, that describes these very small and cryptic organisms. Lots of chances to learn all sorts of things as well as raise the BioBlitz species count.

  • Cat Young

    Cat Young Ornithologist

    University of Tasmania, Inala Foundation

    Surveys: Aussie Bird Count at Kelcey Tier Greenbelt, Twilight birds, Night bird search, A light breakfast with the birds, Biodiversity among the birds

    Ornithologist and specialist bird guide Dr Cat Young has studied birds across the world — from the UK and South Africa to all over Australia. She is currently involved in a range of research projects, including woodland birds and wedge-tailed eagles. Cat will be leading a variety of bird surveys both day and night.

  • Ramit Singal

    Ramit Singal Local bird guide

    Having a Lark

    Surveys: Aussie Bird Count at Kelcey Tier Greenbelt, Night bird search, Dawn birds, Brunch with the birds, Biodiversity among the birds

    Local bird guide, photographer and podcast host of Having a Lark, Ramit Singal has observed birds across India, Australia and more — and Tasmania is one of his favourite spots in the world for bird watching. He communicates his love for nature through guided wildlife tours, visual media, acoustics and the written word. Ramit will be leading a variety of surveys both day and night.

  • Philip Collier

    Philip Collier Botanist

    Central North Field Naturalists

    Surveys: native plants

    Phil Collier has been botanising in Tasmania for over 40 years and has made numerous records of plants in many habitats. Phil is the author of many of the Plant Identikit booklets, including Common Orchids of Tasmania. He’ll be joining Phil Milner for A plant journey of discovery.

  • Sarah Cawthen

    Lisa Cawthen Chiropterologist (bat specialist)

    Surveys: Sunset bat chat, Batty forays (night walks & acoustic surveys), Batty foray (trapping & call recording), Batty foray (Bat call ID)

    Dr Lisa Cawthen is an environmental scientist and educator. She’s also one of Tasmania’s chiropterologists (bat specialists) and she’s quite familiar with Kelcey Tier Greenbelt. Join her for a bat walk where you’ll not only learn about the world of bats, but you’ll also get the chance to also use special gadgets, bat detectors, to help hear and document what bats are flying around at night. She’ll also be setting up a bat trap in an effort to capture the rare Tasmanian long-eared bat, which may or may not call Kelcey Tier home. As you walk and talk, you can also ask her about the importance of preserving dark spaces for people and wildlife.

  • Philip Hrstich

    Philip Hrstich Conservation manager

    Wildcare Friends of Devonport Reserves

    Surveys: A secure Kelcey Tier Greenbelt for swifties

    Conservation manager Phil Hrstich is very familiar with the BioBlitz site. In fact, it was his idea to hold the BioBlitz at Kelcey Tier Greenbelt. He’s been doing a lot of work to support the area’s diverse inhabitants — most notably, the Critically Endangered swift parrots which often choose this area in which to breed. Perhaps you’ve already noticed the nest boxes around the area? Walk with him and find out more.

  • Alastair Richardson

    Alastair Richardson Astacologist (crayfish expert)

    Bookend Trust and University of Tasmania

    Surveys: Cryptozoa — the hidden invertebrates

    Dr Alastair Richardson is an Adjunct Researcher at the University of Tasmania, where he taught and researched zoology for many years. Since retiring, he has been the Academic Director of the Bookend Trust, and also does occasional consultancy work. Alastair still likes to be up to his waist in water or mud, finding out about the natural world. Freshwater crayfish, sandhoppers and more recently, birds, are his great interests. He enjoys taking students on field courses and excursions.

  • Simon Van der veen

    Simon Van der veen Naturalist

    Central North Field Naturalists

    Surveys: Spotlight search

    Simon Van der veen is secretary of the Central North Field Naturalists and a very experienced naturalist, with special interests in tracking down mammals through spotlighting, remote cameras and more. He’s volunteered with BirdLife Australia’s powerful owl project, finding breeding owls and the trees they raised their chicks in, and on Eastern pygmy possum and long-nosed bandicoot projects in Sydney. He has also been a tour guide and mammal surveyer for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. He’s currently running a community project for the Central North Field Naturalist group called FAUNA (Footage of Animals Using Natural Areas) CAMERA, putting motion sensor wildlife cameras out into local reserves. At Kelcey Tier Greenbelt, he helps monitor swift parrot nest boxes with Phil Hrstich.

  • Joanna Lyall

    Joanna Lyall Mammalogist

    University of Tasmania, Natural Environmental Services Tasmania, West Tamar Landcare

    Surveys: The secret life of mammals

    Environmental consultant, sheep farmer, zoologist and University of Tasmania PhD candidate Jo Lyall is studying the habitat and threats to the eastern barred bandicoot, including impacts of other mammals, using remote cameras and GPS trackers to better understand their behaviour, distribution and habitat requirements.

  • Keith Martin-Smith

    Keith Martin-Smith Biologist

    Tasmanian Field Naturalists, Field Guide to the Insects of Tasmania, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery

    Surveys: Invertebrate illuminations, incredible insects

    Marine biologist and former high school teacher Dr Keith Martin-Smith has most recently turned his attention on land to various surprisingly beautiful but tiny animals, including jumping spiders and native wasps. He volunteers with TMAG to help identify the many hundreds of wasp species in their collections, and you may also occasionally spot him working as a Discovery Ranger for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. On the Friday evening after dark, with the rest of the insect team, he’ll be running a insect lamp on the Friday evening at Basecamp, which everyone will be able to visit without booking. Depending on the weather conditions, there’s the chance to see an amazing range of moths, along with native wasps, flies, beetles and more…

  • John Bowden

    John Bowden Discovery Ranger

    Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service

    Surveys: Noticing what’s under your nose

    Many young people know and love Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service Discovery Ranger John Bowden through the PWS WildsCOOL and Travelling Schools programs. It’s a wonderful experience to walk through the bush with him — from figuring out the source of all the tracks and scats, to searching for birds and bugs, and more. He has a very special set of skills, with multiple decades of experience, in helping us notice what’s right under our noses.

  • Ryan Francis

    Ryan Francis Environmental consultant

    Pinion Advisory, Ryan Francis Photography

    Surveys: Magical mystery wildlife spot

    Ryan Francis has been working as an environmental consultant for the past 15 years across the whole of Australia. He specialises in environmental management, aquatic ecosystems and agriculture, developing approaches to best protect Tasmania’s waterways, other ecosystems and inhabitants. He’s also a much-travelled, much-published landscape and wildlife photographer, specialising in Australian wildlife and their habitats. While he is interested in all wildlife, he has a particular focus on ‘herps’ (reptiles and amphibians) and freshwater crayfish.

  • Lynne Forster

    Lynne Forster Entomologist

    University of Tasmania, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery

    Surveys: Incredible insects

    Lynne Forster was lured into the world of insects and spiders at an early age. Now, through her work as an entomologist at the University of Tasmania, she explores their ecology and genetic relationships across landscapes in a changing world. Lynne is intrigued by the intricate life history strategies and devious interactions of such tiny organisms, from pollinators to parasitoids. Sadly, only a small fraction of species are known and she contributes to bringing them to light through her honorary identification work for TMAG and teaching at the University. Lynne loves sharing the insect and spider world with everyone. Join her as we notice and identify more of the little things around us.

  • John Gibson

    John Gibson Biologist


    Surveys: Tardigrade Central

    John Gibson started his scientific career as a chemist, but one way or another now works with tardigrades, rotifers and other very small animals. These animals are particularly poorly known in Tasmania, so everything we find during the BioBlitz is likely to be new. In another life John ran a native plant nursery near Hobart for 12 years, so he also has a wide knowledge of Tasmanian plants. John will be looking at tardigrades at the Basecamp throughout much of the daytime periods of the BioBlitz — come and join him, to see what he’s found. No need to book.

  • Bernadette Neeling

    Bernadette Neeling Creative Learning & Public Programs Officer

    Devonport Regional Gallery

    Art Station

    Join Bernadette from the Devonport Regional Gallery at the Art Station between 10am and 2pm on Saturday to create works inspired by your sightings. No need to book. Look at images of tardigrades — also known as water bears — and create your own tardigrade artworks using watercolour, pencils, and/or pens. What’s a tardigrade? You’ll be able to find out more at Basecamp, with expert John Gibson!

Contact us

Devonport community

Scientists & previous BioBlitz info

Supported by

  • Devonport Council
  • Bookend Trust