Citizen Science

The Bishop lab has initiated a web-based interactive public outreach project called “Citizen Science Nova Scotia.” The website, hosted by Sustainable Antigonish is nearing completion and can be found here or also see a screenshot from the website below. The project encourages members of the public to go out into nature, make observations about aspects of amphibian breeding by observing the presence and abundance of egg masses deposited into ponds around the province. Participants can then upload that information on to the site using an interactive set of tools. Their information is then mapped on to a Google map for public viewing. On the “back end” of the site, I can gain access to, and download in spreadsheet format, geospatial data concerning breeding habitat. The long-term goal with this project is to engage lay people with the scientific enterprise, gather important information about amphibian breeding habitat that would otherwise be very time consuming and expensive to do and then also make the resulting data available to our Biology majors to analyze and report upon. Eventually, by employing our Service Learning department, I plan to engage middle and high school students by creating modules for teachers to employ during field trips in the springtime. I hope that this will also serve as a useful recruitment tool for high school students who may be thinking about university. I am excited about this project.