The Department of Agriculture and Food has successfully applied for funding from the Australian Government Inspiring Australia National Science Week program to carry out a Pantry Blitz in 2016.
The Pantry Blitz will be a hands-on activity aimed at improving community engagement in science and building a community belief that biosecurity is everybody’s business.
Department development officer Rosalie McCauley said the Inspiring Australia National Science Week program had granted $15,000 to assist the department to carry out Pantry Blitz from 13 August to 10 September 2016.
“The Pantry Blitz will enable all Western Australian residents to join the pest reporting community and help protect our food by taking part in the event which kicks off during National Science Week – 13 to 21 August 2016,” Dr McCauley said.
“We hope participants in the Pantry Blitz will enjoy taking part and will continue to send us pest reports after the event ends in September.
“Participants can register for a free trap to place in their pantry, or any other area of their house where there may be pests, for a one-month period.
“The trap contains an attractant that lures insects,” she said.
“Participants will be encouraged to regularly check the trap and use the department’s free MyPestGuide Reporter app to photograph any trapped insects and report them to the department.”
Participants without a smartphone or tablet can submit photos of pests using the department’s online MyPestGuide reporting tool.
At the conclusion of the Pantry Blitz, department staff will identify all trapped insects, collate the data and publish a report on the Pantry Blitz website showing trapped insects, their location and how the collected citizen science data helps protect our food and environment and livelihoods from harm.
Dr McCauley said all reports of potential pests or diseases helped safeguard Western Australia’s biosecurity status and support access for our quality and safe agriculture and food products to international markets.
“Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and we hope everybody, regardless of their location, gets involved in the Pantry Blitz,” she said.
“Data from New Zealand has shown the importance of reports from the general public in an effective biosecurity system.”