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Friday, 31 August 2012

We can all contribute to better knowledge of nature!


PRESS RELEASE – 31.08.2012

Citizens scientists become increasingly central to conservation knowledge and action



Photo by Ulf Gärdenfors
Volunteers collecting and submitting biological records have long been an important aspect of conservation. With the advent of social networks and smartphones, more and more people can contribute to our understanding of nature without any specialist training, and help us understand the decline of endangered species and how they may respond to threats such as climate change.

Public participation extends the geographic and temporal ranges of the data that can be collected and engage people directly in conservation. Citizen scientists thus become increasingly important in providing key information for society, science and decision making. At the European Congress on Conservation Biology (ECCB) today, scientists will explore how to best use these records. Studies include the use of social media to collect biodiversity data in a fun and enjoyable way; how internet surveys on people’s gardening practices can aid hedgehog conservation; how citizen scientist’s data can be used in forest conservation planning; and how we can measure the effects of climate change on birds by using the GPS features on smartphones.
The international nature of the conference also explores how people’s attitudes to nature and wildlife data collection differ across Europe compared to the UK’s animal loving public, and how we can all make a difference to conserving the world’s precious living resources.

Contacts:
Mari Jönsson – mari.jonsson@slu.se +46706684400 – Citizen Science (symposium organizer)
Tord Snäll – tord.snall@slu.se +46767662612 – Citizen Science and Conservation Planning (symposium organizer)
Rick Stafford – rick.stafford7@gmail.com 07813526099 – Smartphones and Climate Change
Rachel Williams – rachel.willams_31@hotmail.com – 07895476875 – Hedgehogs in Gardens
Christina Catlin-Groves - c.catlin.groves@googlemail.com – Social media and data collection

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