Citizen science in New Zealand is extremely dynamic and now is the perfect time to host a symposium and workshops that celebrates what we have achieved, strengthens and grows networks of practitioners, coordinators and decision-makers, and looks ahead to what place citizen science could have in New Zealand’s future. The following is a summary of what is planned for April 7-9 at Te Papa and in the wider Wellington area. Registration is coming very soon!
#CitSciNZ2018 – The lead in
The April 9 Symposium at Te Papa and associated workshops (April 7-8) mark the end of a 3-yr Ministry for the Environment funded project (CEF 421 Citizen Science meets Environmental Restoration). Shoulder-tapping has played a major role in bringing both the one-day Symposium and workshops together – largely because the environmental conservation and citizen science community in New Zealand is small and close-knit. However, as the citizen science movement expands and matures, so too will the scope of projects, range of disciplines and diversity of people involved.
#CitSciNZ2018 – Outcomes
The event is an opportunity to summarise activities underway, grow professional networks and think more deeply about what shape citizen science may take in the future. To progress discussions, one outcome sought is a working group. Meetings and field trips initiated through the NZLT citizen science project raised many barriers as well as solutions that need further unpacking and actioning.
Workshops April 7-8: Supporting hands-on practical learning
Workshops designed for community members are an opportunity to quantify restoration efforts, learn new skills and trial with new tools both in the field and indoors. And they’re all free of charge thanks to the generous support of workshops leaders (with some details around transport TBC). Participants can come to workshops without having to attend the April 9 Symposium. Here’s a summary of what is planned (more details and registration to follow shortly on the event webpage):
|Workshops Saturday April 7|
|Lizards: Theory and field survey/monitoring
Ecogecko & Victoria University
|Full-day workshop (10am – 5pm). Starts with a technical lecture at Te Papa (10am – 11:30am) to increase awareness of lizards in NZ, and to provide participants with basic knowledge of NZ lizards. Two separate field trips follow (12:30pm – 5pm): Zealandia (max numbers: 10) for those with a high level of fitness; Matiu/Somes Is. (max numbers: 6) for those of moderate fitness. Field trips cover basic skills that can be applied for undertaking lizard surveying or monitoring as part of new or existing lizard community conservation projects. Note – to attend field workshops, participants MUST attend the technical lecture at Te Papa first. FREE|
|Bird monitoring and intro to 5-minute Bird Counts
Groundtruth & NZ Landcare Trust
|Short workshop (10am – 12pm) at the Leonard Cockayne Centre, Otari Wilton’s Bush. An introduction to learning how to identify the main forest birds and how you go about monitoring changes in bird populations. The workshop will introduce tools for learning to identify birds, provide an overview of the 5- minute Bird Count technique, and include a bird identification walk in the Otari Reserve.
Max numbers: 20. FREE
|Using Trap.NZ trapping records to monitor pest control activity
Groundtruth & NZ Landcare Trust
|Short workshop (1pm – 3pm) at the Leonard Cockayne Centre, Otari Wilton’s Bush. For new users or those considering using Trap.NZ for recording trapping records for predator control projects. The workshop will provide an overview of the Trap.NZ system, how to use the website and mobile app, how to use the system to lay out and check traps in the field, and how different reports can be generated from your project data. Max numbers: 20. FREE|
|Workshops Sunday April 8|
|Community freshwater quality monitoring
Wellington Regional Council, NZ Landcare Trust, Forest & Bird, Fish & Game
|Full-day workshop (9:30am – 4:30pm) at Otari Wilton’s Bush. Objectives are to identify the opportunities and tools available for communities to monitor freshwater, including fish monitoring, invertebrates, algae, chemical, microbiological and visual water quality analysis and habitat assessment Max numbers: 20. FREE|
|Revegetation monitoring: ‘Trees That Count’ rapid survival plots
Trees that Count
|Short workshop at Vice Regal Park, Newtown (10am – 12pm). The rapid survival plot monitoring method (basic, and advanced) has been developed to verify the overall success of plantings registered with Trees That Count. Max numbers: 20. FREE|
|Bush City Bioblitz and the NatureWatch NZ/iNaturalist online database
Wellington City Council and Te Papa
|Half-day workshop at Bush City, Te Papa (1pm – 4pm). Learn how to use the NatureWatch NZ/iNaturalist app and contribute data to a global biodiversity database. We will be doing a mini-BioBlitz of this inner-city natural area recording every species: plants, insects, birds and fungi – and anything else living that turns up! Max numbers: 20. FREE|
|Marine Meter Squared: Methods for community engaged science
University of Otago
|Short workshop (3:30pm – 5pm) introducing the mm2 on-line data analysis tools and new App for data collection. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the web site to both upload data and graph results. Discussion will focus on data interpretation and extension of the project to address environmental issues and encourage stewardship and restoration projects.
Participants will learn the value of long term data sets; ways to interpret the data collected; questions to ask about issues relevant to their region, and design of further studies to answer these questions. Max numbers: 30. FREE
Introduction and keynote
It would be easy to fill a whole day with talks just about citizen science projects and tools in New Zealand given the amount of activities underway. After the welcome, a ‘current state of play’ for citizen science in this country will start the day, followed by a keynote on data quality. This topic has emerged (unsurprisingly) as a major barrier in accepting citizen-generated data for wider use both in NZ and internationally. US-based Andrea Wiggins (Associate Professor in Information Systems and Quantitative Data Analysis at the University of Nebraska, Omaha). She brings considerable expertise to the field, having researched public participation in data-intensive scientific collaboration (i.e. large-scale citizen science) and issues related to data management and technologies.
Short and long talks: NZ projects
The first half of the day provides a cross-section of initiatives both as 6-min (En)Lightening talks and 6 longer talks (10 mins) that include discussion panels for delving more deeply into content. Topics covered include using technology for biosecurity (camera traps, smartphone apps), running a BioBlitz, conducting predator control monitoring and freshwater monitoring, monitoring outcomes/indicator species (e.g., kiwi), designing national-scale citizen science initiatives, keeping volunteers engaged … with more topics under consideration.
Presentations: From NZ to international initiatives
A series of presentations will look at citizen science initiatives nationally (Curious Minds and the Participatory Science Platform) as well as what has occurred organisationally at an international level. Presentations in differing formats will be given by representatives from the European and Australian Citizen Science Associations as well as from a US perspective following the development of a federal community of citizen science practice and policy initiatives.
Round table discussions
To keep the day dynamic, a series of round table discussions (facilitated by speakers) will wrap up the day. Topics will respond to participants information needs but are likely to cover project evaluation, next steps forward for citizen science, enhancing data quality and designing projects to meet end user needs.
Citizen science EXPO! April 9
Symposium participants will be able to showcase their citizen science activities/projects to the public in Te Papa’s Wellington Foyer (L1). Freestanding poster boards (c. 940mm x 2040mm) are available for posters, flyers, photographs and space is also available for pull-up banners on projects. An hour-long networking and learning session around the displays will take place over afternoon tea.
PS – costs
These will stay low – $30 for community and $120 for professional/business.
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