Looking for an adventure in your own backyard, park, beach or reserve? Our backyard treasure hunt has you covered.

This fun activity takes you into your local area to find and document Australian species. We have a list of 10 species to identify and a handy PDF guide to assist your treasure hunt. Furthermore, we encourage you to share your discoveries with the world using #CSIROTreasureHunt on social media.

You should be able to find most of the species on our list as they are all common throughout Australia. As always, use caution when approaching living species such as lizards, mammals, or bees and be respectful of their space.

Ten terrific species to find (plus one wildcard)

  1. Lizard
  2. Parrot or cockatoo
  3. Duck, goose or swan
  4. Insect
  5. Butterfly or moth
  6. Bee
  7. Eucalyptus species
  8. Flowering plant (in flower)
  9. Mammal
  10. Fungus
  11. Special wildcard: Your favourite native Australian species – no pets allowed!
Our backyard treasure hunt features all of your favourite Australian species.

Keen to contribute to science?

For the keen citizen scientists among us, you can also submit your findings from the treasure hunt to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), Australia’s national biodiversity database. By doing this, you’re contributing to the understanding and protection of Australia’s species.

To submit what’s called a ‘record’ to the ALA, you can use iNaturalist and your data is then inputted into the ALA.

Here are a few tips for submitting a good quality record of your observation:

  • Don’t be too picky – you can submit records of both native or non-native (alien/exotic) species because both are useful records to scientists, and it’s often very hard to tell if something is native or not.
  • Wild or urbanised – observations of flora, fauna, and fungi in urban environments are just as important as observations in wild spaces. So, take photos of a wild bird at a bird feeder, or butterfly in a building for example.
  • Avoid the captive or cultivated – we don’t want to see anything that’s captive, for example an animal in a zoo, your pet at home, or a plant which has been planted in the garden. Keep it natural!

Here’s more advice on uploading good quality records to iNaturalist.

Get ready for treasures!

We have a full colour and greyscale versions. If you need to be indoors today, you could try colouring-in the greyscale one!

Enter our Instagram competition

Share your backyard treasures with us! We’re running an Instagram competition from 7 February to 29 April 2022.

You could win a signed copy of AmaAZed by our very own Andrea Wild!

Follow @csirogram on Instagram and #CSIROTreasureHunt for more.

5 comments

  1. Thanks Henry, I’ve shared this with teachers with environmental and nature play focus on Eyre Peninsula, SA. I hope you get some fantastic engagement via Insta and records back into iNaturalist. Love your work!

    1. Hi Katrina,

      Many thanks for your kind words, we are delighted that you have shared the activity with your network and we hope all enjoy.

      Thanks,

      Henry
      Team CSIRO.

  2. Hi Lin,

    Thanks so much for getting involved in our Backyard Treasure Hunt. You can record your observations through the iNaturalist website here: https://www.inaturalist.org/

    Here are some tips for uploading observations to the website: https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/pages/help#observations1

    Thanks,
    Team CSIRO

  3. Love this idea have shared it onto my conservation fb page and group hope we see more of these types of treasure hunts 🙂 great way to get children involved in nature too

  4. Just not sure how to record the observations – written description; if so how is it submitted? Is there an online form? Where do you send the photos? Do you need your own website?!

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