DustWatch volunteers awarded

Citizen scientists from rural south-western NSW have been recognised at the inaugural DustWatch Volunteer Awards ceremony for contributing to vital dust storm and wind erosion research in Australia for over 10 years.

Dust storm Nyngan, Western Rivers NSW

The awards were presented at the 9th International Conference on Aeolian Research in Mildura.

Dr John Leys, leader of the DustWatch program at the Office of Environment and Heritage who manage and partly fund the program, said DustWatch is the first citizen science wind erosion project of its kind.

'The program relies heavily on the ongoing support of its 44 volunteers. Most of the 39 monitoring stations across the state are set up in extremely remote locations and we could not operate without the dedicated volunteers who collect data during dust events and maintain instruments on a monthly basis,' Dr Leys said.

Monitoring dust storms

Dr Leys said the role of DustWatch and its citizen scientists will become even more important as climate change continues to unfold as some areas, particularly western NSW, become hotter and drier leading to increased soil erosion.

'Large dust storms such as the "Red Dawn" that hit Sydney and Brisbane in September 2009 can cost the NSW economy $300 million. DustWatch volunteers provide rapid information and early warning signals to protect our soil, economy, health and lifestyle from these events.'

'On behalf of DustWatch, we'd like to say thank you for the important work of our volunteers.'

Help us monitor dust

Send us observation, submit your photos or read and subscribe to Dustwatch reports.

Get involved

Recipients of DustWatch Volunteer Awards