The #CitizenScience Association of Aotearoa New Zealand: Wrapping up Year One

Participating in the AGM: (from the top LHS) Andrea Soanes (Secretary and Treasurer), Monica Peters (Co-Chair), Shane Orchard (Co-Chair), Ash Muralidhar , Elvisa van der Leyden and Nathan Odgers (all (new Committee members), Elise Smith (Committee member)

This blog post formally marks a year since CSAANZ was established. The inaugural meeting was held August 2019 in the cosy surrounds of the Fitzroy Surf Lifesaving Club (New Plymouth). Given that our committee members are spread all over the North and South Islands, the subsequent monthly meetings have all been held online, including the AGM. It’s worked well, meaning that CSAANZ can continue to have input from its far-flung executive with the added benefit of zero meeting costs. Read on for a summary of what we’ve been up to and what our plans for the coming year are.

Over the last year, we’ve been busy establishing the founding documents of CSAANZ and setting up systems to progress our objectives. We’ve had a very broad range of discussions over the year – moving a new association forward requires time, energy and a diverse skill set. For volunteers that make up the small executive team, there are so many areas to consider!

CSAANZ objectives

Highlights

Highlights of the past year include the inaugural meeting in New Plymouth in 2019, a joint meeting with trans-Tasman CitSciOz colleagues (see blog post here) as well as and regular contact between the founding members and many others who have expressed interest in connecting with CSAANZ. These contact points have helped forge new links between diverse projects nationwide as well as strengthen existing ones.

To date, CSAANZ main accomplishments include setting up internal communication channels and developing a work programme. Although we’ve relied heavily on monthly zoom meetings to bring the committee together, we hope to meet face to face in the coming year.

Memberships

Membership has been an oft discussed and debated topic throughout the year. Expanding from the 17 founding members is vital for CSAANZ to gain momentum and move forward. However, agreeing on the details has taken time – there are many, many different models of membership. Some are free while others have variable rates for individuals and groups (e.g., schools, NGOs, business/corporate). Our plan is to develop a free individual membership category with a koha (donation). This is inclusive, builds on the original ‘network of practitioners’ philosophy, and minimises barriers to participation. It’s also suits the current capacity of CSAANZ.

Partnerships

Rather than establish a corporate or business membership rate, we are keen to progress strategic partnerships. For us, it would mean developing bespoke arrangement with each partner (e.g., agency, NGO, educational institute) based on what the mutual benefits could be. These may also be for a specific event e.g., to support a symposium. Colleagues in the Austrian Citizen Science Network have used this approach – read an excerpt from their basic MOU with partners here.

CSAANZ Website and Facebook page

The Facebook page originally set up to support the CitSci2018 symposium has been updated for CSAANZ and our new committee member, Ash Muralidhar is keen to breathe more life into it.  We have also scoped out a website and drafted content so once that is up and running, we can also progress membership – a form will be available on the site. Elvisa van der Leyden, another new committee member will also contribute her expertise to boosting our communications and has set up a CSAANZ LinkedIn profile to share news, actions and outcomes.

#CitSciNZ White Paper

The White Paper recognises that while ‘citizen science’ is becoming a more frequently used term, it has not yet been adequately described. Work on finalising this brief document will continue in the coming year.

Priorities for 2020 – 2021: Growth!

  • Finalise and launch v1 of the CSAANZ website
  • Grow CSAANZ membership (via the website and Facebook page)
  • Reinvigorate the Facebook page
  • Develop a partnership model for establishing collaborative initiatives e.g., with government agencies, NGOs and corporates
  • Establish a part-time coordinator role
  • Investigate f2f networking event opportunities
  • Finalise and share the White Paper

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about CSAANZ, please email us at citsci.nz@gmail.com

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