Te Whau Citizen Science Programme
Citizen Science can be defined briefly as “public participation in scientific research”
Through Te Whau Citizen Science Programme, we aim to encourage a participatory and community-based Citizen Science approach to environmental and biodiversity monitoring. Not only will this enhance the overall body of scientific knowledge around the Whau River catchment, active participation is one of the most effective ways to inspire a love and appreciation of our natural resources and a desire to protect them.
The Whau River Catchment Trust Te Whau Citizen Science Programme was launched at the WRCT Citizen Science Symposium in May 2015. This turned out to be the first major meeting of Citizen Science practitioners in New Zealand.
Our next Te Whau Citizen Science event was the one-day Te Whau BioBlitz at Kurt Brehmer Walkway in July 2015. This was an opportunity for the wider Whau River community, including over 120 school students, to participate in monitoring the biodiversity of Saunders Reserve and Kurt Brehmer Walkway on the Rosebank Peninsula.
Te Whau Citizen Science Workshops
In April and May 2016 we held a series of CitizenScience Workshops in New Lynn, Kelston and Avondale.
The purpose of these Workshops was:
- To learn what Citizen Science is all about, and how incorporating Citizen Science into biodiversity and environmental monitoring could lead to more effective restoration and conservation outcomes in the Whau River catchment.
- To learn the key functions and capabilities of NatureWatch NZ – one of the largest Citizen Science platforms in NZ for learning about NZ biodiversity.
- To learn how to utilise the iNaturalist smartphone App. to record and map our own observations to Naturewatch.
- To join the ‘Whau River’ monitoring project on NatureWatch NZ and populate this with new records as part of a field recording exercise.
If you missed our workshops, check out our Workshop Page to learn more!
An ecological and biodiversity focus recognises the interrelatedness of all parts of the biological world and the impact that people have on living systems. In the Whau River Catchment, restoring and maintaining biodiversity is particularly important because so much has already been lost through decades of urbanisation, resulting in severely degraded environment. However the Whau catchment contains many remnants of indigenous vegetation, providing precious habitats for native plants and animals. Most of these are vulnerable in an environment modified by people and introduced species.
Although scientists and members of the public have long worked together to further scientific discovery, Citizen Science offers a new level of collaboration between scientists and the community. Citizen science can mutually benefit, as well as demystifying and democratising science and policy. Citizen Science has gained such momentum recently because of the array of opportunities offered by digital and wireless technologies to gather and share data.
Citizen Science initiatives such as NatureWatchNZ, Smartphone Apps such as NZ Fauna and eBird and community monitoring projects such as Marine Metre Squared, 5 Minute Bird Counts and WaiCare are examples of tools and technologies that provide opportunities for non-experts to contribute directly to science and future decision making.
The value of a Citizen Science approach is now recognised globally including New Zealand within central government, the NZ School Curriculum, local and regional councils and a number of other organisations particularly Landcare Research and NZ Landcare Trust.
The NZ Landcare Trust’s Inventory of Citizen Science Projects, Programmes, Resources and Learning Opportunities in NZ is now online. This document provides the most comprehensive and up to date information about citizen science in New Zealand, and can be downloaded from the Trust’s citizen science project web page.
If you or your community would like to join our Te Whau Citizen Science program contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org