The number of citizen science projects is growing rapidly across the UK. Citizen science is used to not only collect data, but to engage individuals and communities with their local environments.
My research explores the contribution of citizen science, both technologies and experiences, to local nature recovery initiatives. I am interested in the impact of the activities on the citizen scientists themselves and how citizen science programmes enable and support local nature recovery on the ground.
An important output of my project is to develop a citizen science ‘how to’ best practice guide specifically for landscape-scale nature-based recovery projects. These include a range of management approaches, from rewilding and habitat restoration, to regenerative, agroecological farming and management intended to deliver public goods.
Transformative potential of citizen science
Citizen science projects often span environmental science fields, empowering participants to monitor flora and fauna in an effort to map trends, gain conservation literacy, and aid conservation efforts.
Knowledge alone is not enough to affect a sustainable change. My research looks at the transformative potential of citizen science to lead to motivation and behaviour change among participants and recipients of data, including land managers and advisers.
My work includes assessing existing behaviours and motivations on environmental issues, but also expectations and concerns regarding citizen science. I assess which approaches increase interest and point towards longer-term benefits, as well as those that reduce concerns amongst land managers regarding access or usefulness of the data.
Working with local communities
Working on this project gives me the opportunity to champion the need for wider collaboration between all sectors and stakeholders in relation to nature recovery.
I have a personal and professional interest in both research and rural issues. I am a chartered town planner, with over 15 years of experience in planning policy.
In undertaking this master’s degree, I draw on my existing skills gained in planning practice, but also hope to develop my ability to understand and solve problems working with local communities.
This master’s degree provides me with a stepping stone onto a research pathway and further research opportunities.