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The vital role of citizen science

The best way to observe nature is to follow the changing seasons. I subscribe to many blogs, of which the Woodland Trust is one. Their latest post reblogged above, illustrates how many folk are becoming highly valued citizen scientists.

Woodland Matters

For the past 14 years, enthusiastic volunteers have been helping track changes in seasonal natural events through Nature’s Calendar, adding thousands of records to the UK Phenology Network database. Faithfully, they have observed and recorded when trees come into leaf or flower in spring, when migrant birds arrive and leave, and have spent their autumn days noting when leaves change colour, then fall, or when fruit ripens. The data is being used by students and scientists across the UK, and even further afield, to research the implications of climate change for our natural world.

These recorders are part of a tradition that goes back much further, starting with Robert Marsham, who began recording his ‘Indications of Spring’ back in 1736 on his family estate near Norwich, Norfolk, and continued to record for 62 years. From 1875 until 1947 the Royal Meteorological Society co-ordinated a nation-wide network of recorders…

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4 thoughts on “The vital role of citizen science

  1. Hi Tony, thank you for reblogging this. Citizen scientists are hugely important. Nature’s Calendar highly values them, their passion and their input. I know many other organisations do too.

  2. No problem Kay, it was a no-brainer for me once I saw you had written this post. I hope to attend next weekend’s Phenology event at London Wetland Centre, in order to learn more about the subject from the true experts in the field.

    Best Wishes


  3. Hello Tony, great post – I think there are millions of folk out there who would love to get involved in some ‘Citizen Science’ and the web is helping to facilitate that, but wouldn’t it be good if there was a public online data repository. It could be invaluable as a source of information for professional natural scientists.

    1. Hi Finn,

      Many Thanks and as you say, we can only hope our own blog posts will start to inspire the next generation of Citizen Scientists. The nearest thing I am aware of as to an online data repository would be the NBN gateway. Their link is as follows, and a fair amount of my data goes to them.

      Best Wishes


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