In the days preceding your survey you will receive some important emails from Watergum. Make sure you read them all thoroughly so that you are fully prepared on the day. If you have any physical difficulties then please let us know and we will match you to a suitable site.
One of the most important pieces of information you will receive in your emails will be your site allocation and a link to the site map. When you open the map, look at the key on the left and make sure you are looking at the correct survey. All our surveys are present on the same map so make sure you are looking at the correct one by ticking the little box on the left. Once you are looking at the correct survey, please identify the meeting point and your specific site.
You will also be given the Watergum phone number. Please save this number in your mobile phone! If you have any emergencies or worries during the survey, you can call this number at any time and someone from Watergum will be able to help you. Please also save the non-emergency police number and the no reception emergency number. If you need am ambulance or other emergency services, this number will work, even if you don’t have any signal on your phone.
Watergum – 0478 422 280
Non-emergency police number – 131444
Emergency number, works even without reception – 122
If you can’t make it for any reason, please make sure you text Watergum and let us know your name, your site allocation number and the reason you can’t attend. If you don’t let us know about your absence in advance then we will be concerned when you don’t show up and will be calling you at 4:30am to check up on you.
Please get everything ready the night before your survey. Make sure you have checked the weather report so you know what to expect in the morning.
Make sure you get an early night because you’ll be getting up at around 4am the next day!
If we need to cancel the survey at short notice we will send you a text, send you an email and post it on our facebook page. So please keep an eye on your preferred service on the morning of the survey, particularly if there are adverse weather conditions, bush fires, or uncertain covid-19 restrictions.
On the morning of your survey, please get up nice and early so that you arrive on time. Please arrive at the Meeting Point at the designated time, which would have been clarified in the email. If you have a smart phone you can open the map and click on the meeting point to navigate straight to it on the day!
It will be dark and there will be people walking around so make sure you take care when driving and also be aware of your surroundings when you exit the car, use your torch. Remember to keep noise to an absolute minimum. Some of our meeting points are in residential areas and we don’t want to wake up the neighbours and initiate any complaints.
When you arrive you will find a member of the Watergum team waiting for you. They will tick you off the list, give you your Platypus Record Book and give you a survey sign. After that you may need to wait for your survey partner/partners to arrive. Once everyone who is assigned to your site has arrived, you are ready to jump back in the car and drive to your site. Again, use the map to navigate there.
When you get to your site, park somewhere safe, grab your sign and make your way to the water. At some sites, the parking area is right next to where you will be surveying but at other sites, you may have a short walk or scramble. Use the map to pin point the exact location of the survey site.
Each site is different and will have different hazards. Some sites will be near busy roads (road volunteers are given hi-viz), some sites require you to clamber down steep embankments or walk through tall undergrowth so please make yourself aware of your surroundings and be careful!
Remember to check the description in your online map for specific site details!
Once you arrive at water, you and the other volunteers should spread yourselves around the area so as to get as many views as possible of the waterway. You will have undoubtedly created some noise and commotion as you arrived that would have likely disturbed any platypus that were there, so it is important that you get comfortable and quieten down as quickly as possible to give the platypus a chance to resume their normal activities.
And now it is a waiting game! Sit quietly and survey the area for platypus, using binoculars and a zoom camera if you have them. Make sure your mobile phone is on silent! Be sure to remember everything you can from the induction material to reduce the chance of unreliable sightings. If you do see a platypus, remain quiet and write down all the specifics in the Platypus Report Book. During down times, observe the habitat and jot down anything relevant.
When it is time to pack up, make sure you take everything back to your car with you and make your way back to the Meeting Point for the designated time (which will have been specified in the email) where the Watergum team will be preparing a warm breakfast to welcome you all back! Before you get anything to eat or drink, please check in with a Watergum team member. We need to check you off the list to confirm you have arrived back safely, retrieve your Platypus Report Book and your survey sign and we also need your survey results! Then you are free to go! Please chat to the other surveyors, eat lots of yummy food and have a great time!
Don’t worry, in the event of covid-19 restrictions PlatypusWatch has a covid-safe version of our surveys! Unfortunately, you won’t get your yummy breakfast but you can still contribute to the collection of this vital data while keeping everyone safe. Once you have booked onto a survey, please keep a very close eye on your emails for instructions.
And there you have it! Everything you need to know.
Please download and print this handy CHECKLIST which you stick to your fridge and check the night before your survey to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Next we will ask you to complete a quick quiz to make sure you have fully absorbed everything in this course. Once you have completed it, take a screenshot of your results and send it to email@example.com to get enrolled! You need to score 85% to pass.
A reminder that surveys happen twice a year, in August/September and March/April.
Join our dedicated PlatypusWatch group for news, updates and videos of cute platypus!
We look forward to seeing you at our next survey!