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Citizen science; volunteer engagement and data quality in Lille

Posted 18th December 2014

We were selected to present a paper at the 2014 British Ecological Society (BES) conference in Lille in December. Our paper was summarising the eSTEeM funded project ‘The Flight of the Fritillary’. The paper authors were Emma Rothero, Irina Tatarenko, David Gowing, Mike Dodd and Mandy Dyson.

We wished to share with the BES our project looking at engaging volunteers to collect scientific data on the rare snakeshead fritillary and the relationship between this species and its main pollinator, the bumblebee. We summarised how we established new volunteer groups and after 3 years, to what extent we had engaged with the volunteers, whether they felt they had learnt anything, and whether the data they collected was scientifically robust. These were all questions that the eSTEeM funded project had set out to answer.

The presentation was included as part of a wider set of presentations on citizen science projects ranging from local (such as ours), to national and global and gave a very good context and range of the types of citizen science projects that are out there, and what they can deliver at the different levels of operation.

We have as a result joined the BES citizen science special interest group, which means we can share our findings from this project more effectively with other ecologists looking at engagement with science over the coming years.