Resources for Citizen Science

The Maximising the Capacity of Citizen Science for Science and Society conference run by the Australian Citizen Science Association has showcased a wide range of projects and resources that will be useful to educators and citizen science enthusiasts. I thought I’d share some links and information:

Biodiversity Snapshots is a useful resource for students/teachers to work in the classroom before and after a field trip into a school playground, local park or bushland.

BirdSleuth has an inquiry-based philosophy that engages kids in real data collection through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s citizen science program. BirdSleuth provides educators with kits that:

  • Encourage kids to answer their own questions about nature using the scientific process
  • Spend time outdoors, connecting with nature by focusing on the fascinating sights, sounds, and behaviors of birds
  • Motivate kids by the real-world importance of the data they enter online, which scientists use to understand and conserve birds

eBird is a real-time, online checklist program for the birding community launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology over a decade ago, eBird has the stated goal of trying maximise the accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers and has amassed one of the “largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence”. Find out more here about eBird:

“The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of eBird users. eBird then shares these observations with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. In time these data will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond.”

Zooniverse provides opportunities for people around the world to contribute to real discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology and claim to be the “largest online platform for collaborative volunteer research”.

QuestaGame is an app for outdoors on quests into the natural environment to submit sightings, earn gold, conquer territory and compete with other players.

DigiVol involves volunteers building knowledge and communities through digitising collections.

Redmap is a fantastic site and app. Their slogan says it all:  SPOT. LOG. MAP. THE Range Extension Database & Mapping project invites the Australian community to spot, log and map marine species that are uncommon in Australia, or along particular parts of our coast. 

The Atlas of Living Australia Did you see something? Photograph something? Capture audio or video of something? Share it!

Monarchs in the classroom may interest those learning about the complex biology and natural history of monarch butterflies.

Citizen Science Central and Citizen Science toolkit (more ideas from from Cornell University).

European Citizen Science Association

iNaturalist helps record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world.

EstuaryWatch is a community based estuarine monitoring program where volunteers regularly record data on estuary mouth condition and estuarine water quality.

Streamwatch groups investigate and take action on water quality and catchment and ecosystem health.  It has supported local communities across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Illawarra and Southern Highland regions.

Guide to Citizen Science (UK)

The Australian Seismometers in Schools project (AuSIS) is an outreach program to put 40 earthquake-measuring seismometers in Australian Schools, and raise awareness of geoscience through observing our dynamic earth in motion. Students are required to look after their own seismometer and in doing so be a part of a national science experiment. 

Have a computer? Want to help astronomers make awesome discoveries and understand our Universe? TheSkyNet needs you!

The Centre for Radio Astronomy Research  will interest many students (find out more hereand The SkyNet is really worth investigating as it will engage students at home as citizen scientists by using their computing power.

Conclusions

Citizen science must engage young people for a raft of reasons and it is essential imho that any person involved with the movement keeps this in mind. It is NOT just about education. It is about our democracy as well as our environment.

The keynote by John Williams, former CEO of CSIRO, highlighted that citizen science is essential for our democracy and that seeking ‘the truth” is of fundamental importance for our society. Our youngest citizens need to be involved! Growing scientific literacy in our community is fundamental, as is ensuring science policy is not only holistic but acted on in the political system. The message, that seems so obvious – that our system must consider the scientific, the political the economic and the environment as a whole in decision making – but so seemingly unlikely to happen any time soon. John sees citizen science helping embed the knowledge needed for good governance.

Hallelujah!

What resources, websites and projects should students, teachers and schools know about?

NB I will keep adding to my is my citizen science resource tag at Diigo

Featured image: flickr photo by Darcy Moore http://flickr.com/photos/darcymoore/19926819416 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

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1 Comment

  1. Gretta Pecl:

    Great article! very nice summary of the conference and some awesome citizen science projects people can become involved with.

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