In the spirit of open access, open science, my PhD ‘The ecology of community environmental groups in NZ’ can be downloaded in it’s wordy entirety here
Here’s a summary of the main contents:
Literature Review Community members engaging in environmental monitoring
Monitoring is a core component of citizen science, which is both a field of inquiry and research process. Activities in recent years have expanded rapidly, leading to inconsistent use of terminology and weak theorisation. This chapter describes the motivation to volunteer for environmental projects, along with the range of definitions applied to citizen science. Typologies that attempt to define the scope and nature of citizen science are examined, and possible outcomes relating to ways in which community members participate in citizen science are outlined.
An overview of the mixed method research design covering the online questionnaire and interviews is included along with the qualitative and quantitative analyses carried out. Methods for disseminating the research e.g., via social media are summarized.
Chapter 4 Action on the ground: A review of community environmental groups’ restoration objectives, activities and partnerships in New Zealand
What are the characteristics of community environmental groups and their projects in New Zealand? Despite the proliferation of community environmental groups in recent years, no studies to date have investigated the diverse nature of these groups and their activities at a national level. This chapter builds a foundation for subsequent chapters by profiling 296 groups, their restoration projects and their partnerships. Published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology 29(2): 179-189
Chapter 5 The current state of community-based environmental monitoring in New Zealand
How do community environmental groups determine whether they have met their project goals? Little is known about how community environmental groups measure change within their restoration projects and how monitoring toolkits designed specifically for these groups are used. This chapter also investigates contextual factors shaping community-based environmental monitoring such as groups’ characteristics and challenges faced by groups for developing monitoring programmes. Published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology 30(3): 279-288
Chapter 6 The use and value of citizen science data in New Zealand
How are community-generated environmental data perceived and used? Community environmental groups produce data from their monitoring activities, though how these data are used by the groups themselves and their project partners has been poorly studied. This chapter overviews the diverse societal outcomes experienced by groups in the process of their monitoring activities. Published in the New Zealand Journal of the Royal Society Vol 45(3):151-160.
Chapter 7 Applying citizen science to freshwater ecosystem restoration
Given the increasing focus on water quality decline in New Zealand, what scope is there for citizen science to assist with the provision of water quality data? What principles underpin the development of long-term volunteer environmental monitoring programmes? A strong culture of volunteer water quality monitoring exists in North America, with programmes educating participants, and providing data for research and environmental decision-making. In contrast, few community members in New Zealand participate in monitoring freshwater resources though there is increasing interest in doing so. To progress combined community, scientist and government resource management agency participation in freshwater citizen science programmes, principles underpinning the development and implementation of long-term volunteer monitoring programmes are outlined. To be published in Lake Restoration: A New Zealand Perspective, (eds.) D. Hamilton, K. Collier, C. Howard-Williams, and J. Quinn (Springer, 2016).
Chapter 8 Synthesis
Six recommendations for further social and ecological research are aimed at researchers (university and Crown Research Institutes). A further 3 recommendations for practical action are aimed at researchers and land management agencies.