Bush Tales

Project Info

IDentify Our Roots thumbnail

Team Name

IDentify Our Roots

Team Members

Ben and 7 other members with unpublished profiles.

Project Description

Australia is uniquely exposed to the challenges of climate change and loss of cultural heritage. Bushtales is a novel app that leverages open-source data from the archives to provide a synergistic approach to tackling these problems. Our app contains three vital elements that work to implement current environmental and heritage information effectively, close the present gaps in our knowledge, and connect individuals to the significance of the natural world.

Embedding culture in the conservation conversation:

Through the placement of QR codes in biological and cultural sites, users are invited to photograph Australia’s unique flora and fauna. Bushtales then retrieves open-source information about the species from archives such as the SEED Environmental Data. This information is used to identify the organism. Our app then has the unique feature of accessing information on the cultural significance of these species within traditional communities from resources such as New South Wales Heritage Inventory Database. This information is presented to the user, placing our wildlife back at the heart of Australia’s rich cultural heritage. By linking the biological information to the social significance, app users gain a detailed, holistic insight into the necessity of conservation and stewardship.

Enhancing ecological information:

The map feature empowers users to find where similar species have been observed, enabling them to see where particular species of interest can be found. The benefits of this extend beyond each individual citizen. Geotagged nformation of observations are fed back to the data sources. Through this two-way communication, Bushtales leverages the power and scale of citizen scientists and historians to elevate our understanding of the distribution of organisms. This is essential for the continuous monitoring and safeguarding of culturally significant species. Bushtales is therefore a critical tool for amateurs and analysists alike.

Connecting Communities:

Designing long-term, effective interventions to protect our heritage requires collaboration between individuals, communities, and policy makers. Bushtales is at the vanguard of this endeavor. Within the app is a community page which allows users to submit their own stories about the wildlife they have observed. Following moderation, other users can access and read about the significance of species in the lives of their fellow citizens. This connects individuals across social and geographical barriers, grounding the impact of culture in our every day lives. Through the publication of such stories, hitherto unheard voices are empowered. Policy makers have access to the social, cultural, and scientific data obtained through the app, providing a precious resource for designing accurate and inclusive conservation strategies.


Bushtales is a synergistic approach to tackling the seemingly disparate challenges to culture and the environment. By exposing the intrinsic connection between these two areas under threat, our app provides the motivation, data, and public engagement necessary to design more powerful policy prescriptions. While many jurisdictions lack data, and others fail to utilize information effectively, Bushtales presents an opportunity to both implement and augment our Australia’s ecological and anthropological expertise. As a data-driven, community-led project, the Bushtales app constitutes a vital part of a modern and effective conservation toolkit.

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Data Story

The proposed app will send API queries to multiple databases from NSW to Moreton Bay to national archives to access open government information including key heritage landmarks and stories, environment and ecology.

NSW Bionet data is accessed to import updated scientific details about flora/fauna for users once the network ID’s the organism.

Inaturalist’s open source code to ID images based on training data sets

NSW heritage databases used to identify culturally significant areas especially around coastal NSW and export map nodes

Moreton Bay Council’s data on Fauna/Flora would be queried for relevant species information and automatically moderated citizen science data like species locations, image data and general biological metrics can be uploaded to their existing repositories.

Sample code to retrieve a lizard record from bionet

Evidence of Work



Project Image

Team DataSets

Gundabooka National Park and State Conservation Area Vegetation 2021 VIS_ID 5108

Description of Use Locations from this data hold special significance to the Aboriginal people and the content will be scraped to be highlighted in the app for users touring the area

Data Set


Description of Use Bush Tales uses Seed for the environmental data related to cultural sites within NSW to highlight locations of relevance for users and pair the info with data collected by the users and other cultural archives

Data Set

NSW bionet

Description of Use Database for scientific species information, including distribution and conservation status

Data Set

NT Government Fauna Atlas

Description of Use Alternative fauna database for Northern Territories when expanding nationally.

Data Set

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre - The Plants of Milarri Garden

Description of Use An alternative database to collect foundation flora information when expanding nationally.

Data Set

NSW Government BioNet Atlas Database

Description of Use BioNet Atlas contains recorded sightings of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, some fish, and some (mainly endangered) invertebrates. Use the search form to find and map plant and animal records from the Species Sightings and Systematic Flora and Fauna Survey collections

Data Set

Devil's Chimney

Description of Use Referenced example in video

Data Set

NSW State Heritage Inventory Map

Description of Use Spatial display of aboriginal sites and items present on the State heritage register to find culturally significant stories to pair with images.

Data Set

Challenge Entries

Discover Heritage: Unravel your local stories

Ignite a passion for heritage and bridge the gap between people and their cultural roots. How can the community discover the untold stories of their local heritage and understand its universal value. How can we create lasting impact by preserving traditions, building community bonds, and boosting local economies through heritage tourism.

Go to Challenge | 12 teams have entered this challenge.

Best Creative Use of Data in Response to ESG

How can you showcase data in a creative manner to respond to ESG challenges? How can we present and visualise data to stimulate conversation and promote change?

Go to Challenge | 33 teams have entered this challenge.

Enhancing heritage inventory: Bridging the knowledge gap

Knowledge is power. The State Heritage Inventory contains data gaps that impact the effective management and protection of our irreplaceable heritage items and Aboriginal cultural sites. How can open-source data enhance the inventory and deliver better outcomes for our state heritage, Aboriginal cultural heritage and our community?

Go to Challenge | 6 teams have entered this challenge.

Moreton Bay greening as we grow (QLD)

How might we harness the power of the everyday citizen to help protect our diverse flora and fauna as we grow our region; creating a diverse and flourishing planet for generations to come?

Go to Challenge | 11 teams have entered this challenge.

Cultural Coasts: Empowering Aboriginal site protection amidst climate change

As climate change threatens our precious coastal areas, ancient Aboriginal cultural sites are being damaged and pose the very real risk of losing them forever. How do we use climate data to protect them and help empower communities to preserve these irreplaceable cultural landmarks?

Go to Challenge | 3 teams have entered this challenge.