We are currently testing ways of engaging citizens in the process of collecting scientifically valid observational data on wildlife and vegetation in and immediately around climate lakes, also known as stormwater- or rainwater detention ponds.
The data that citizens are collecting is useful for researchers to understand more about how these artificial lakes evolve over time as natural habitats. As well as serving as a method for monitoring the current state of selected stormwater management facilities.
For citizens, the project is useful in terms of learning more about both the purpose, function and need for maintenance of their local climate lakes.
The project may also be useful as a way of inviting a conversation with local citizens, where researchers learn more about the public view and recreational use of the lakes.
Citizens can engage directly in data-collection by capturing photographic observations and adding them to our data collection project on iNaturalist.org
Prior to the pilot, we invited citizens, biologists from SDU and representatives from the local wastewater facility to share ideas on how to collect relevant data in a “think camp” style online event.
Citizens scientists involved in the project can share their observations with other participants through our facebook pages and will be able to complete various “climate lake challenges”. Participants can add “their” local lake to a map, which in turn will make it easier for others to engage with the activity of collecting relevant observations.
The data-collection part of the project also serves as an opportunity for doing local “photo safaris with a research purpose” for amateur nature photographers and others with a keen interest in urban wildlife and vegetation.
We also encourage active participation in the form of sharing the invitation with others. In the longer term perspective, citizens can engage as data-collection project managers, around specific climate lake locations. As we see this project continue further as a voluntary community effort, than the duration of our student involvement with testing methods for citizen engagement and data gathering.
Links to project webspaces
Christina Melanie Cooper, MSc IT Product Design, Kolding / BA Negot
Naomi Swagten, MSc IT Product Design, Kolding / BSc Industrial Design
Refilwe Felicity Damane, MSc Environmental & Resource Management, Esbjerg / BA Geology