Cit Sci Think Tank

Lizard monitoring workshop, Matiu/Somes

The Citizen Science Think Tank evolved from a series of Roundtable workshops at #CitSciNZ2018, a Symposium wrapping up the 3-yr ‘Citizen Science meet Environmental Restoration’ project (funded by the Ministry for the Environment). 
The Think Tank is hosted by different organisations c. every 2 months in Wellington. The aims are broad and time frames extended given the Think Tank operates on a voluntary basis. Membership is open to interested parties – use the contact page to post your enquiry.


ACTION 1. Develop a Citizen Science Working Group (now Think Tank)

A dedicated Working Group would bring cohesion to the field of citizen science and enable a targeted approach to progressing citizen science in NZ. An independent chair will facilitate six Citizen Science Working Group meetings over the course of one year in Wellington. Members will include Govt Ministries and Agencies, Science Providers, NGOs and Community environmental groups and trusts. 

ACTION 2. Build a Citizen Science Strategy

Strategic documents from Citizen Science Associations in the US, Europe and Australia provide a useful scaffold upon which a Citizen Science Strategy for New Zealand government, agencies and organisation could be built.  

  • Define citizen science for the NZ context
  • Design a Citizen Science Strategy that connects with, and extends existing initiatives (e.g., Curious Minds Strategy, Predator Free 2050 and Strategy for Education for Sustainability), and integrates with government policies and programmes (e.g., Open Data and Open Govt) and national priorities (e.g., water quality)
  • Identify agencies best placed to support citizen science and work with identified agencies to build citizen science into their strategy, operations and budgets

ACTION 3. Create a Citizen Science ‘Information Hub’

The development of a central source of citizen science information will help avoid duplication and inefficiency.

  • Develop a website to provide a central source of citizen science information to mitigate duplication and avoid inefficiency. Include project pages to connect volunteers, project coordinators and local/regional/national projects, available tools and resources 

ACTION 4. Support Best Practice and Enhance Credibility

Attitudes from the science community vary – some scientists work proactively with communities on science projects while other remain uncertain of the validity, efficacy and usefulness of citizen science as a research method.

  • Develop tools to support citizen science program design, delivery and data quality
  • Provide training for scientists and resource managers for in how to set up and manage citizen science projects
  • Develop a nationally accepted toolbox of standardised, compatible environmental monitoring protocols for community use
  • Investigate avenues for establishing Citizen Science Ambassadors, Coordinators and Field staff
  • Seek opportunities for enhancing training opportunities for citizen science volunteers
  • Research effective systems for recording, storing, analysing and disseminating/reporting on data
  • Investigate links with existing databases e.g., NatureWatch NZ and Land and Water Aotearoa (LAWA)

ACTION 5. Grow New Funding Opportunities

Sourcing sufficient funding for project coordination along with equipment is a key challenge for many citizen science initiatives.

  • Seek longer-term (5y) funding opportunities
  • Bring cohesion to the fragmented landscape of funding sources and reporting requirements e.g., standard reporting formats and proposal applications