Published by Neri on November 16, 2023.

The world 'science' needn't be one that conjures up images of white-coated scientists in sterile laboratories, surrounded by electronics and state-of-the-art microscopes. Increasingly, community members are able to contribute observations, log data and 'do science' via a growing network of websites, apps, collaborations and experiences that encourage engagement and curiosity with the world around us. The opportunity to contribute to scientific knowledge can be taken purely by taking note of your surroundings whilst bushwalking, star gazing, taking photos or even sea kayaking and snorkelling.

How Can You Get Involved?

Science doesn't need to be a spectator sport. These days volunteers all around the world collect important data on space, clouds, megafauna including whales, whale sharks, mantarays and turtles, birds and flora. It may seem daunting at first, but sites like iNaturalist, eBird, Flora Connections, Globe Observer and Happywhale are great places to start. Organisations such as your local Parks & Wildlife office (DBCA in Western Australia) may have opportunities to assist in flora and fauna monitoring projects, and CSIRO have a range of projects ranging from monitoring local air quality and identifying insects to analysing radio plasma images of the galaxy.

Why 'Do Science'?

There are many reasons individuals choose to contribute their time, brain power and often their hard-earned cash towards worthwhile citizen science projects. And if you are currently reading this article, there's a good chance that I don't need to explain to you why!

Besides the obvious benefits to researchers by having many more people contributing observations, analysing data and contributing to a body of knowledge; for the citizen scientist the value lies in becoming part of a meaningful community and engaging on a deeper level with the world around us, taking positive and useful steps towards addressing some of the world's issues and gaps in knowledge, and giving back to our local community or favourite holiday destination.

In any terms, participating in citizen science projects, if done in a thoughtful way and for the right reasons, is a win-win. Chances are you will find you develop a greater appreciation for the world around you and gain an addictive new hobby.


Upcoming Projects

Participate in the Great Southern Bio Blitz from November 24-27, 2023. This is an international period of intense biological surveying in an attempt to record all species across the Southern Hemisphere. Big goals, but it's as simple as uploading all of your flora and fauna photographs from your geographical area for the period to iNaturalist. More info: Great Southern BioBlitz.

Join Exmouth Adventure Co for a dedicated Citizen Science departure of their 5-Day Ultimate Safari Tour, from August 4 - 9, 2024. Over 5 days of sea kayaking, snorkelling and hiking, returning to the same comfortable base camp each night, you will have the opportunity to participate in coral and mangrove monitoring projects, developing fauna species lists at select snorkel sites, and take a guided behind-the-scenes tour of the Minderoo marine research labs to learn about current projects on the Ningaloo.

Questions? Don't hesitate to get in touch.

Black flanked rock wallaby with a baby in pouch