The DigiVol blog series features stories about our Volunteer Digitisation program that includes the DigiVol Lab and DigiVol Online.

Dr Dan Bickel, Principal Research Scientist, Entomology at the Australian Museum gave 5 fascinating natural history talks on ‘The History and Science of Amber’ to 70 DigiVol volunteers and front of house volunteers in the DigiVol lab as part of the two week Science Festival.

Dan gave the inaugural natural history talk for volunteers in the DigiVol lab and due to its success, more talks will be scheduled to complement the very popular ‘Behind the Scenes’ tours in the DigiVol program which are provided by the Collection Managers and staff. Volunteers are thrilled to learn more about natural history, our Collections and the opportunity to engage with scientists and staff.

Dan said ‘I enjoyed giving these natural history talks to such an interested group of volunteers who asked great questions and were keen to learn more about this topic. I am a strong supporter of Museum staff providing more natural history talks for adult volunteers. Kicking off the first talk for adults during the Science festival was a great idea as it complements the Museum’s student programs.’

Dr Dan Bickel, AM Entomologist natural history talk
Dr Dan Bickel, AM Entomologist speaks with Digivol tam Image: Leonie Prater
© Australian Museum

Also, as part of Science Week, the DigiVol lab provided a great venue one evening for 20 enthusiastic 1st Balmain Scout Group scouts to learn how to become “Wildlife Spotters”. Rangers, Natalie and Alan (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage) from the WildCount project showed the scouts how to identify different animals from the forests of eastern NSW. The scouts then applied their learnings on the ABC Wildlife Spotter website. The Australian Museum is a partner in this exciting online citizen science project with OEH and ABC.

DigiVol hosted a second event on a wet and blustery night for 13 intrepid online citizen scientists who were interested in learning more about “Wildlife Spotter”. Once again Natalie was on hand to help the budding citizen scientists to identify native wildlife. The data captured and catalogued online is helping the science community to understand changes in the occurrence of different species across Australia. For more information about the fabulous Wildlife Spotter project go to