Importance of Citizen Science

What is it?

Citizen science, sometimes called community science, refers to research conducted by amateur members of the general public in collaboration with scientific researchers. Many people comprise the citizen science community, including nature advocates, children, students, birdwatchers, amateur astronomers, gardeners, hobbyists, etc. All share an interest and enthusiasm for science and nature.

What do citizen scientists do?

Citizen scientists may collaborate with professional scientists, directly or indirectly, to collect data and analyze research, interpret results, make discoveries, and report their species observations. Scientists often work with communities already collecting and reporting data relevant to their projects. An example is citizens who use websites like iNaturalist to document their observations of species.

Why is citizen science important?

Citizen scientists play a crucial role in identifying invasive species throughout Nova Scotia. They are valuable partners to organizations like the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council because they can collect and interpret data and broaden research. For example, when citizen scientists report their invasive species observations in our iNaturalist project, it allows the NSISC staff to see where invasive species populations are established, if any species have spread to new regions, and if a new invasive species has arrived in Nova Scotia.

Want to become a citizen scientist?

No formal training is necessary to become a citizen scientist, and thanks to modern technology and the internet, it is now easier than ever to join the citizen science community. You can become a citizen scientist for the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council by joining our iNaturalist project and reporting your observations of invasive species.

Join today and start making a difference in your community! 

How to take good photos for invasive species reporting.

When reporting invasive species, including good photos of the species is critical! Most importantly, the invasive species in the photo should be in focus and not blurry. Identifying the species will be easier and more manageable if the photo is clear. If you are taking pictures of tiny organisms such as insects, the organism should be the main focus of the photo, not a speck. First, take a photo from a distance; as you slowly get closer, take more photos. This method prevents you from unintentionally startling the targeted organism before you can get a photo. It is always best to take multiple photos when reporting invasive species! Additional images showing other features of the organism will help with identification.

Here are some essential tips when taking photos of invasive plant species!

  1. Include a photo of the entire plant.
  2. Take close-up photos of leaves & stems.
  3. If flowers or fruit are present, get a close-up.
  4. Take a photo of the entire patch to show the size of the invasion.