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Citizen science is a term used to describe members of the general public who collaborate with professionals on scientific research. Many different people make up the citizen science community; nature advocates, children, students, birdwatchers, amateur astronomers, gardeners, hobbyists etc. All of whom share an interest and enthusiasm for science and nature.
The work that citizen scientists do can include working with scientists on collecting data and analyzing research, interpreting results, making new discoveries, and reporting their species observations. Scientists will often work with communities who are already collecting and reporting data that is relevant to their projects, such as citizens who use websites like iNaturalist to document their species observations.
Citizen scientists play a key role in identifying invasive species throughout Nova Scotia and are valuable to organizations like the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council due to their ability to 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 established in Nova Scotia.
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 invasive species observations. Join today and start making a difference in your community!