Header: NatureSpot


NatureSpot Early Winter Surveys: 1 - 31 May 2021

Join us for a survey event!

Learn what plants and animals live in our city and help us catalogue urban biodiversity! 
Events are free, register below!

Sat 1 May 2021, 10am
Canterbury Road Urban Forest
Middle Park (map)
Register here
Sat 1 May 2021, 1pm
West Beach, indigenous garden
St Kilda (map)
Register here
Thu 6 May 2021, 10am
Gasworks Arts Park
Albert Park (map)
Register here
Thu 6 May 2021, 1pm
Elwood Tea Tree Reserve
Elwood (map)
Register here
Sat 8 May 2021, 10am
St Kilda Botanical Gardens
St Kilda (map)
Register here
Sat 8 May 2021, 1pm
St Kilda Beach & Breakwater
St Kilda (map)
Register here
Tue 11 May 2021, 10am (rescheduled)
Port Melbourne Light Rail
Port Melbourne (map)
Register here
Tue 11 May 2021, 1pm (rescheduled)
Te-Arai Reserve
East St Kilda (map)
Register here

All events are 1.5 hours survey sessions. No prior knowledge required, just bring a phone or camera and curiosity! Family friendly and suitable for all ages. 

If you are a school or early learning centre interested in joining these events or running your own surveys, please get in touch and we will be happy to support you. 
Are you a keen local naturalist who can support our surveys? We’d love to hear from you! 
Get in touch via email  NatureSpot@ecocentre.com or call 03 9525 3102

Ladybird Bird NatureSpot Bottlebrush

What is NatureSpot?

NatureSpot biodiversity surveys is a citizen science project where anyone can contribute to catalogue plants and animals living in our city. Help us collect as much data as possible to create a comprehensive species dataset for inner-south Melbourne. 


Data collected will help us find out what kind of animals live in our neighbourhood (insects, birds, spiders, reptiles, mammals, fish etc.) and what plants are providing habitat for these animals. The mapping tool will identify biodiversity hotspots and areas we can enhance to provide more food, shelter and refuge to support urban biodiversity. 


Take a photo of a plant or animal and upload it onto the NatureSpot map anytime during the survey period (1-31 May 2021). No prior knowledge required, just slow down and observe closely, and you’ll be surprised with what you find on your street or local park! 

Not sure of what you saw? Upload a good close up photo and we will help you identify them. We’d love to gather more data on smaller animals such as insects and spiders and plants (both native and non-native)  in season with flowers or fruit!


The survey takes place across inner-south Melbourne suburbs (map(South of the Yarra River from Port Melbourne to Caulfield East). Plus anyone is welcome to submit observations from nearby areas.

NatureSpot in the classroom

Download a free lesson plan for schools (PDF). Survey your school yard or visit a local park to investigate nearby habitat. 

Watch NatureSpot tutorials 

How to record your NatureSpot

How to take macro zoom photos

Results of NatureSpot Spring Survey (Sep/Oct 2020)

279 spots, 173 fauna, 120 flora and 6 fungi were submitted by citizen scientists over five weeks!  View a snapshot of flora and fauna recorded here.

The NatureSpot project 2020-21 is funded by the Australian Government Communities Environment Program.


Grow Wild! Guide to native plants for backyard biodiversity

Download our gardening brochure to design and select plants to create a wildlife friendly habitat garden in your backyard, balcony or school. Increasing habitat in private spaces will help create a little safe haven for insects, birds, frogs and other animals living in our city as they move around urban parks and reserves. Grow plants that provide shelter, food and breeding sites to support the health of our urban biodiversity. Design a garden with various habitat structures or start with flowers and climbers for small spaces.

Download 'Grow Wild'


Port Phillip NatureSpot - November 2019 to June 2020

Thank you all citizen scientists who contributed to the Port Phillip NatureSpot biodiversity survey! A total of 692 ‘spots’ were submitted by 172 citizen scientists during the course of the project. From your photos, we verified 114 fauna and 75 flora species, including 17 insects and 4 spiders that were recorded in Port Phillip for the first time. This is very exciting for us as it highlights the effectiveness of citizen science in cataloguing valuable local environmental data. Read the full report and list of species here.

About Port Phillip NatureSpot

The EcoCentre is collaborating with CrowdSpot to partner with City of Port Phillip to bring you ‘NatureSpot’ — an exciting chance for you to be part of collecting important information about the creatures and plants that call our City home. Anyone can survey flora and fauna from your backyard, balcony or take a walk along the block to gather data and get the benefits of nature connection. Do it at various times to see different critters – you might see bats or possums at night, many birds during the day and don’t forget the insects and plants. Slow down to notice the small things on ground level, in a shrub or above in a tree, you might find a delightful surprise! Snap a photo and record your sightings online to help us gather information which will be used to enhance and protect biodiversity in the City of Port Phillip. 

Why it's important

Council is currently developing a biodiversity plan to create and maintain habitats for animals, including food sources and corridors where they can travel around safely. But first we need to know what plants and animals already visit and live in our city so we know what to protect. With 75% of land in our city privately held, we need your help to tell us what animals and plants you have in your backyard and your neighbourhood. 

Cities play a vital role in biodiversity conservation and management. Opportunities to connect with nature in our city play an important role in our health and wellbeing and make Port Phillip a great place to live and can contribute to effective climate change adaptation actions.

Purple swamphen

Across 2019 and 2020, the EcoCentre will work with community through 6 days of NatureSpot activities, two school audits, and home surveys to methodically collect spatial location (ie ‘pin drop’) records of fauna species abundance and habitat usage at 6 different locations.

Public NatureSpot activities will survey foreshore, parkland, streets, schools, and private properties. Port Phillip is lucky to have existing fauna surveys undertaken in some areas, therefore site selection will focus on aspects of the city with data gaps. Survey tools will be suitable for all ages and will partner with local amateur naturalists. Our survey method is compatible with Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools Biodiversity Audit to maximise opportunities to partner with schools for surveys.

Interested in joining the team or learning more about NatureSpot? Fill in your details below and we'll be in touch closer to the dates. Whether you have extensive plant and animal ID skills or can't tell a tawny frogmouth apart from a thorny rose bush, we'd love to have you on board!

      DELWP Logo

The Port Phillip NatureSpot (November 2019 - June 2020) was proudly supported by the City of Port Phillip and funded through the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, Caring for Our Local Environment grant program.

Boon Wurrung Foundation Logo The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional owners of the land on which we are located. We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Elder members of our multicultural community.