Now it is time for a look at environmental citizen science. The videos and other materials on this page will give you an overview of the variety of environmental areas where citizen science can play an important role. The recommended reading and videos in this module will take you about 1 hour to complete.

The Crowd and the Cloud

The Crowd and the Cloud is a TV series about citizen science and crowdsourcing. Watch the first 11 minutes of this episode about one of the longest running citizen science projects in the world, the Christmas Bird Count in the United States (11 minutes). Watch it here.

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Recommended reading 

This paper is a systematic review of environmental and ecological citizen science projects and it discusses the variety in citizen science projects and how this has changed over time.

Pocock et al., 2017 The diversity and evolution of ecological and environmental citizen science. PLoS One 12(4), p.e0172579. Download it here

Video lecture

An Introduction to Environmental Citizen Science (15 min)

Prof Muki Haklay Part 1 Environmental  Citizen Science

Download the annotated slides here

Video lecture

The Approach to Environmental Citizen Science at Earthwatch (10 minutes)

Dr Alan Jones Environmental Citizen Science Earthwatch

Download the annotated slides here

Video lecture

Case study: Earthworm Watch, an environmental citizen science project (13 minutes)

Dr Alan Jones Environmental Citizen Science Earthworm Watch

Download the annotated slides here

Activity

Become an environmental citizen scientist

Capturing Our Coast

Through Capturing Our Coast, mentioned in Alan Jones' video lecture, you can get involved in spotting marine invaders or become a CoastXplorer!

iRecord (BRC)

The Biological Records Centre, mentioned in Muki Haklay's video lecture, runs the iRecord platform where you can submit species records and download their apps. Specific apps exist for UK Ladybirds, Grasshoppers and Asian Hornets.

UK recording schemes (NBN)

Most of the UK biodiversity recording schemes are listed on the National Biodiversity Network website, mentioned in Muki Haklay's video lecture. Currently 200 schemes are listed, from Acari (mites and ticks) to Yorkshire Naturalists' Union, so take your pick, get outside and start looking for your favourite organism!

Further learning

Further reading

The following report to UK Environmental Observation Framework (UKEOF) analyses when and how to use citizen science:

Pocock, M.J., Chapman, D.S., Sheppard, L.J. and Roy, H.E., 2014. Choosing and Using Citizen Science: a guide to when and how to use citizen science to monitor biodiversity and the environment. NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. You can find it here

The comprehensive report from Helen Roy and her colleagues is another UKEOF output:

Roy, H.E., Pocock, M.J., Preston, C.D., Roy, D.B., Savage, J., Tweddle, J.C. and Robinson, L.D., 2012. Understanding citizen science and environmental monitoring: final report on behalf of UK Environmental Observation Framework. You can find it here


There is also a whole issue of the magazine Environmental Scientist, from August 2016 which is dedicated to citizen science:

“They walk among us: The rise of citizen science” https://www.the-ies.org/resources/they-walk-among-us-rise

Further learning

Introduction to Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing, UCL, extensive free online course about citizen science. You can find it here

Other modules

There are five modules in this course. You can follow them in order or pick the ones that interest you. 

Introduction to Citizen Science - an overview of the activities and practices that are included in citizen science

Environmental Citizen Science - this module

Information Technology in Citizen Science - focusing on the importance of data management and IT platforms

Understanding Participant Motivation - addressing the common question of why people participate in citizen science

Evaluation - developing an appropriate evaluation for citizen science projects

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