What is Citizen Science?
The Oxford English Dictionary recently defined citizen science as: “scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions.”
Citizen Science is a relatively new term for activities that have a long history. Science begins with observation and recording those observations. Ordinary people observing their natural surroundings and recording particular information can be citizen scientists. If you have ever participated in a Christmas Bird Count or Backyard Bird Count then you are doing Citizen Science!
Over the years at LEPS we have worked with volunteers on several citizen science projects through our wildlife programs including the:
- Brookswood Fernridge Wildlife Monitoring Program which helped identify important wildlife habitat patches and corridors in the Brooskwood Fernridge area to provide the municipality with information that will assist in the conservation of wildlife habitat throughout the neighbourhood and:
- Bat Monitoring Project with a goal to collect data about our local bat populations and bring together volunteers who are interested in protecting our local bats. The date collected will be invaluable to the conservation of these flying friends!
- Lichen Monitoring Project is a new citizen science project to monitor lichens on trees in the Lower Mainland (page in development).
For more information on the history, and future of Citizen Science check out some of our suggestions:
- The Tyee
- David Suzuki Foundation has linked with a US based Citizen Science organization, SciStarter
- To learn about Canadian Citizen Science projects, type ‘Canada’ into the search tool and you’ll see lots of projects with links to find out more. One of them is Nature Watch. This organisation has several projects including FrogWatch, IceWatch, Plantwatch and Wormwatch.
Citizen Science Day is April 16 followed by a month of activities until mid-MAy focusing on all things Citizen Science. For more information, http://www.citizenscience.org/