Citizen Science Presentations

I recently gave two presentations on citizen science, to quite different audiences!

Firstly, I gave a presentation on aspects of Citizen Science to a large gathering of spatial professionals at the Perth GeoRabble monthly catch-up, upstairs at the Universal Bar in Perth. I (a botanist in another life) spoke alongside geologist Levi Fordham, educator Jesse Robertson and GeoRabble stalwart Maya Dominice. My take home message was: “think global, act local”.


Alex in full flight at GeoRabble (Photo credit: Helen Ensikat)

My presentation focused on aspects of empowering the citizen to participate in science, such as putting research-backed smartphone apps into the hands of engaged citizens. I used the Dolphin Watch app we have produced for the Department of Parks and Wildlife as a local case study in the successful components of a citizen science project, including:

  • specialist involvement in the research questions to be answered by the app,
  • great community engagement personnel, and
  • an app developer providing standards-based data management tools in the app and back-end data repository.

The following night, Tracey and I attended the Coastal Walkabout info and training evening in Mandurah, organised by the local community and Krista Nicholson from Murdoch University’s Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU).  I joined other speakers – Daniella Hanf and Delphine Chabanne (also from MUCRU) – in talking about various aspects of citizen science and the role it plays in their research into Dolphin populations in Western Australia.

Delphine, Krista, Alex and Daniella
Delphine, Krista, Alex and Daniella together with Dudley, the Estuary Guardians Mandurah dolphin mascot.
The talks were followed by a practical session on the Coastal Walkabout app – where Tracey and I were supporting community members to download the app, register and practice recording dolphin sightings. An extended question and answer period finished a successful evening.
Amongst the audience were students and teachers from John Tonkin College (JTC), who have been actively involved in developing community interest in research into the dolphin of the Peel-Harvey estuary.  One concrete example is their short training video on using the Coastal Walkabout app.  It was also a pleasure to meet Aaron Johnston (a student at JTC) who was nominated for a WA Youth Award for his efforts in establishing the Estuary Guardians Mandurah.
As always, if you have a query about citizen science, feel free to post a comment below, send me an email, or start a conversation with us via our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages.

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