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Citizen Scientists Honoured

Dolphin Watch volunteers were recently recognised for their commitment to citizen science at the Swan River Trust’s annual Dolphin Watch Day.

There are nearly 600 volunteer Dolphin Watchers monitoring the Swan Canning Riverpark’s dolphins and four dedicated individuals were honoured in a special award ceremony held at the Perth Convention Centre on Friday 14 June.

Swan River Trust River Guardians Program Manager Marnie Giroud said every volunteer Dolphin Watcher made an invaluable contribution but there were a number of stand-outs that deserved to be recognised. 

Trudy Klessens with Dr. Lyn Beazley

Mt. Pleasant resident Trudy Klessens received the 2013 Chief Scientist’s Citizen Scientist Award, presented by WA Chief Scientist Lyn Beazley.

“Professor Lyn Beazley handpicked Trudy from hundreds of volunteers because of the detail contained in her reports,” Ms Giroud said.

“Trudy’s reports not only contained presence and absence data but she also went a step further to include information on weather conditions, dolphin behaviour and whether people were present.”

Ms Giroud said Peter and Trita Agar were named the 2013 Dolphin Watchers of the Year and presented their award by Environment Minister Albert Jacob.

Peter and Trita Arga with Environment Minister Alber jacob Peter & Trita Agar with Hon Albert Jacob

Ms Giroud said the couple had been involved in Dolphin Watch since 2009, when it began, and have been consistently reporting on dolphins.

“This year the couple contributed an incredible 222.8 hours monitoring in Shelley,” Ms Giroud said.

“In that time, they reported 29 dolphin sightings and their work has been a huge help to researchers to determine dolphin movements in the Riverpark.”

Ms Giroud said this year the Trust included a new category – Dolphin Watch Photographer of the Year – because Dolphin Watchers were now regularly submitting digital images in significant numbers with increasing quality.

“Susan Harper was named as the Dolphin Watch Photographer of Year,” Ms Giroud said.

Susan Harper - Dolphin Watch Photographer of the Year Susan Harper - Dolphin Watch Photographer of the Year

“Susan has been reporting for the project since 2010 and has often accompanied her reports with dolphin photos. In the last couple of years, Susan has honed her photography skills and has provided some fantastic photos for the project.”