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Backyard species checklist

By Jasmine, 11 June 2020 Activity

icon of a phone taking a photo of a butterfly

Get out your phone and help real scientists!

Written by Alex Horvat and Taryn Johnson


Put your environmentalist cap on and discover what species are hiding in your own backyard. Explore your surroundings, snap a couple of pictures, tick them off the checklist as you go and draw the most interesting creature you discover.

Download your species checklist here

Kids boxed kit of microscope, slides and related equipment.

Fill in our backyard species checklist for you chance to win a microscope kit!

Send us your completed species checklist and a drawing of the coolest species you saw, and you could win a 30-piece microscope set from Yellow Octopus!

How to enter

To be in the running to win this fantastic prize, send us your entry with your name, age and email address. Get a parent’s permission, ask them to sign each entry, and email your submission to helixassist@csiro.au by 10 July 2020. The best entry will win the prize.




Terms and conditions of entry

1. To be valid, all entries must include name, age and email address of entrant. 2. All entries become the property of CSIRO and will not be returned. 3. Entering the competition assigns copyright to CSIRO. 4. Entries will be judged on creative merit, not by chance. 5. Age will be taken into consideration when judging. 6. All decisions on competitions are final and will not be discussed further. 7. Winners will be notified by email. 8. CSIRO shall not be liable for any damage or loss suffered in connection with any of the prizes. 9. Any change in value of the prize between the publishing date and the delivery date is not the responsibility of CSIRO. 10. In the case that prizes become unavailable after the publishing date, CSIRO will send an alternative prize. 11. The closing date for entries is 10 July 2020. 12. Competition entries must be the entrant’s own work. 13. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure copyright of their entry is not assigned elsewhere. 14. Winners should allow six weeks for prize delivery.


Your privacy is important to us. CSIRO collects personal information via Double Helix competitions and other activities. CSIRO requires parental permission before accepting any personal information from children. This information will be used by CSIRO for administering these activities in accordance with their terms set out above. For further details of how CSIRO will use and manage this personal information, see CSIRO’s privacy policy.


  1. Excellent opportunity to encourage children to look around and explore, enjoy and value the world around them.

  2. Great resource folks. My workplace is a member of ZAA (Zoo and Aquarium Association) based in Australia and they are working really hard to include New Zealand organisations and resources. It would be awesome if DoubleHelix could produce a NZ version of this resource.

  3. Hi folks – I was just wondering if you have to download the app. to enter the competition? I work at a school and I think it’d be a great activity to do with the kids – but being a lower socioeconomic area the majority of the children don’t have phone.

    1. Hi Louise,
      Good question! We’ll get in touch with the ALA and get back to you soon.

  4. Great – thanks!

  5. Some good news, Louise. Here’s further info from the ALA:

    “Though this activity aims to promote the use of the iNaturalist app and the Bush Blitz backyard expedition, we understand that not all of our keen citizen scientists have access to the technology required for this task. We would love to see the completed checklists and drawings from your students and welcome their entries to the competition.

    “Alternatively, a modified version of this checklist will become available on the Atlas of Living Australia website in the time following the competition for ongoing use as an education resource that can be used by teachers.

    “If you choose to work with your students on creating submissions for this competition, note that the terms require parental permission before submitting the entries. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact support@ala.org.au.”

  6. This is great – thanks. But please rethink partnering with a company with such sexist categories and language on their website. I won’t expose children to this, and it isn’t what I would expect to see at a link provided from a CSIRO site.
    For example, some quotes from https://www.yellowoctopus.com.au/

    Gifts for Boys: Boys will be boys. Messy, dirty and full of beans – don’t even try to contain their sprouting energy. Looking for something that will keep their attention for more than 5 minutes?
    Gifts for Girls: Your little princess deserves the world and maybe a pony and a castle too. Yellow Octopus, we can’t promise her those things, and you probably can’t afford them anyway, but what we can offer we guarantee will meet all her little expectations.

    1. Thanks for this feedback, Caroline. It’s an important point, and we will raise it with Yellow Octopus.

      Jasmine Fellows
      Editor, Double Helix


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