Not all scientists have university degrees and years of experience. Sometimes, the pros need a little help from the rest of us, so they call on “citizen scientists” like you and me to help them with research. “Citizen Science” supports a range of research areas, but wildlife monitoring is one area that regularly benefits from our participation.
But why do professional scientists need our help?
Counting birds and butterflies
The RSBP has been running the event for 40 years. Four decades of data helps RSPB scientists to see trends and patterns, and they now know that the UK has lost more than half of its house sparrows and even more starlings over the last few decades, but they’ve seen positive trends, too. Blue tit numbers have grown, and wood pigeon populations have risen by 800%. Wow!
Could you be a Citizen Scientist?
To find out about a whole range of citizen science opportunities in the UK, visit Zooniverse– which calls itself “the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.” This website also provides helpful information about how citizen science works and how you can get involved.
Millie Kerr is an American writer and wildlife conservationist based in London. She loves animals big and small, and supports their protection through writing and photography. Learn more about Millie via her website (milliekerr.com) and follow her adventures on Instagram (@millieckerr).