Citizen Science

Bringing people together to support creativity in ecological research.


Co-Secretaries: Helen Roy and Michael Pocock
Student Representatives: Gail Austen-Price and Gitte Kragh


Citizen science can be broadly defined as the involvement of volunteers in research. The past decade has seen a rapid increase in the number of citizen-science initiatives, spanning diverse areas of interest and ranging from local to global. Citizen science is the way to combine primary ecological research with environmental education and public engagement.  The technology available to support and inspire new citizen science initiatives and opportunities is rapidly expanding and has enabled citizen science to become global in scale, long-term in ambition and engage hundreds of thousands of volunteers in many different scientific pursuits.  We hope to promote the value of citizen science by sharing experience, expertise and providing a community to foster innovation in research through citizen science.

Mailing List

Join our mailing list. It is free for anyone to join to hear about citizen science events and projects (from the BES and elsewhere) and discuss citizen science.


  • Provide a forum for sharing details of current citizen science in ecology, and as a community to foster and support creativity in research via citizen science
  • Develop links with relevant initiatives across disciplines and facilitate local to global collaborations on citizen science
  • Encourage networking and sharing of expertise among people like students, volunteers, researchers and policy-makers, who want to support citizen science projects and develop their own

Meetings and Events

Below are a list of upcoming Citizen Science events, but check out the events page for all BES events.

Coming up in 2017 we have a range of events, building on the success of the past few years. More information on all these will be circulated via our mailing list.

A Research Hackathon for Freshwater and Citizen Science. 25 – 27 May, Oxford, UK

This event brought together 15 participants (researchers and practitioners) to focus on a global citizen science dataset. FreshWater Watch is a citizen science generated dataset currently comprised of 17,000+ data from over 35 cities. In each city, participants test water quality in rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands as well as making qualitative observations of point and diffuse pollutions sources, bankside and instream vegetation complexity, flows and levels. The research hackathon is a great opportunity to get hands on with an unprecedented, collaborative citizen science dataset and should appeal to anyone who is considering volunteer participation as a part of their research activities. Research hackathons (or Derbies) regularly result in publishable research or network expansion. For more information please visit the event website.

Connecting with the Crowd. June 16, London, UK

Crowdsourcing projects and platforms abound, involving over one million citizen scientists in the analysis or interpretation of images and data online. This conference will showcase the latest tools, technologies and approaches available to engage and collaborate with diverse audiences online. We will share lessons learned, and to explore collaborations with social researchers and how crowd-sourcing can impact ecology. This one-day conference is joint with the Constructing Scientific Communities dissemination event. Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded programme which explored the evolving interactions and collaborations between so-called ‘amateur’ and professional scientists. More details will be announced in due course. Email Lucy Robinson for more information.

Discover ‘Lost Woods’ and ‘Shadows’ in the Peak District. Summer, Peak District, UK

This event is to celebrate and to share ideas on a citizen science project, running for 3 years so farm discovering ‘Shadow Woods – a search for lost landscapes’ in the Peak National Park. The implications of this project for understanding past and future woodland and forest landscapes are far-reaching and there are links across the UK and elsewhere in Europe. This will be a celebratory event with workshops to recruit and train community science volunteers, 2) work with citizen science volunteers to help close the information gaps, 3) completion and update of the data-based species distribution maps and to evaluate using Ellenberg Indicator values, and 4) a project report with interpretation and management recommendations for stakeholders, an education pack, flier, key cards and an app. and more. For more details and booking, visit the event website or email the organisers.

Learning the science from the citizens. 19 November, Newcastle, UK

This is a one day workshop turned upside-down: all the talks and workshops are decided by, focused on and run by citizen scientists. This is an opportunity to learn about how citizen science is perceived, and why people choose (or not!) to get involved. Rather than focusing on surveys, check-boxes and interviews, we hope to work collaboratively with active citizen scientists from across a range of projects, and learn together how we can improve both the experience and the science for future projects. We are looking for as many citizen scientists and organisations to be involved as possible, so please contact Hannah Grist for more information. We have a number of partially or fully funded places for citizen scientists to get involved.