I am currently co-designing and co-delivering the NZ Landcare Trust-led ‘Citizen science meets environmental restoration’ project (2015 – 2018) under the name of ‘people+science’. At the same time, I also carry out other contracts that have a science-community focus. From my strong knowledge of citizen science both in NZ and internationally, I bring project development, coordination, facilitation and science communication skills to the table.
The NZLT citizen science project began with a series of working group meetings in centres across the North and South Islands: Nelson and Christchurch, Palmerston North and Auckland. The meetings build a foundation for the project because they bring those both active in citizen science and those interested in developing projects together to share thoughts and experiences. As well as finding out what projects are underway, it’s an opportunity to investigate opportunities and barriers for progressing citizen science in New Zealand.
To strengthen the project by better understanding the scope and nature of citizen science in NZ, I brought together an inventory of projects, programmes, resources and learning opportunities. This online document provides a comprehensive overview of what is happening in citizen science in the environmental sector.
While the NZLT project provides a necessary foundation, the bigger picture is to encourage the development of strategy and policy for community members to collect long-term environmental data in New Zealand. It will be a long journey to gather support and create the conditions for this to happen, but I am inspired by the growing international community of citizen science advocates and practitioners I find myself a part of.
Internationally, a broad range of initiatives have taken place that combined underscore the multiple values of citizen science, and create the necessary infrastructure for formalising citizen science activities. Examples include:
• developing national and international associations: US (CSA), Europe (ECSA) and Australia ACSA)
• creating databases of citizen science activities (e.g., scistarter)
• promoting research to fill knowledge gaps (e.g., the Citizen Science: Theory and practice journal)
• encouraging best practice (e.g., UKEOF Guidelines)
• considering ethical and legal dimensions
• running inspirational conferences (#CSA2015, #ACSA2015, #ECSA2016) and fora
• supporting large-scale, long-term citizen science programmes that produce data for research, advocacy, education and to support decision-making and policy development (Florida Lakewatch; eBird, OPAL);
• developing national strategies to grow citizen science (e.g., Germany 2020)
• strengthening links with policy
And, the list goes on! For news and views about citizen science and community initiatives nationally and internationally, keep in touch!