I was lucky enough to attend the launch of the Desert Science Network in Alice Springs last week. I met a bunch of interesting people and learnt about loads of exciting projects happening in areas near or similar to where our Desert Fireball Network cameras are stationed.
The Desert Science Network exists to connect the science and the people that live and work in desert areas of Australia. The aims of the network are to increase collaboration with other other desert science programs, decipher and share best practice for science communication in deserts, and promote the importance and relevance of these projects to those in the network as well as to the vast majority of us who live in cities near the coast.
It’s a great chance for the Desert Fireball Network to connect with other people working in the area, seek out new camera locations and widen our Fireballs community. The launch brought more than one hundred people together to hear ‘stand up science’ – short stories of science happening in the deserts.
I also met up with the communications team at Ninti One CRC-REP to find out how they’re going to record the understandings of some of the Anangu Aboriginal people about meteors and fireballs. We’re hoping to produce a picture book and video to explain some of their knowledge on the topic to share with everyone and complement our educational resources.
It was great too to catch up with Kathleen Patrick from Scitech’s Outreach Aboriginal Education Program to find out where they’re travelling to this year to engage remote community students and teachers in science discovery. It was a whirlwind trip, but I also snuck in a visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park to explore the desert ecosystems around Alice Springs. Woodlands and desert river areas have way too much vegetation for good meteorite searching, but the drier sand country is probably perfect!
For more information on desert knowledge and a snapshot of science programs in deserts have a look through Desert Knowledge, Innovation and Inspiration (Australian Government).
For more information on the establishment of the Desert Science Network have a read of Inspiration from the deserts: science engagement in and about Australia’s desert regions.