Churchill Fellowship – report

In October – November 2015, I travelled on the Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship, ‘to design enduring methods that engage nature lovers to monitor wildlife population sizes and needs’ – USA, Hungary, UK

You can download the report of my Fellowship findings here

In summary, I concluded:

  • The phrase ‘citizen science’ is confusing; neither science nor citizens are all one thing. It pays to be cautious in assuming anything about a ‘citizen science’ project.
  • The quality of a project’s science is the feature most likely to attract and retain participation. ‘Engagement’ activities that suggest, but cannot realise, a solid scientific aim are typically less likely to last, and may negatively affect the image of citizen science.
  • Good design, training and testing greatly enhance reliability of any research, and confidence in it.
  • Analytical techniques are ever-improving but cannot necessarily fix issues post-hoc.
  • Citizen science takes time and resources to do well. Time devoted to good communication – e.g. for skills training, regular feedback and institutional collaborations – is likely to be worthwhile.

More on these points in future posts.

Following on from the fellowship, I’m working with volunteers to design a citizen science project to monitor threatened burrowing crayfish – Claws on the Line

For the Bookend Trust, with City of Hobart and Latrobe Councils, I’m also helping organise two BioBlitzes, with aim of inspiring participants to take part in citizen science projects in future.

Please join in!

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