Citizen Science in the Ottawa Area

Written with C Hanrahan │ FWG

Citizen scientists can be any age. The Macoun Club is a great way for your child to learn about nature (and yourself, should you decide to tag along!) Visit their website to learn more.

The word ‘scientist’ may conjure up test tubes, glasses and white lab coats, but an ecological scientist is more likely to be tramping around in Gore-Tex and North Face hikers. Nevertheless, ‘scientist’ also connotes a high level of post-secondary education and access to the ivory towers of academia. But anyone can be a scientist if willing to practice in an organised fashion – after all, a scientist is really just a person with knowledge, interest and the willingness to exercise due diligence over the quality of information he or she collects.

A citizen scientist might be you or your child. With the advent of interactive technologies, citizen science is taking off as a valuable tool for monitoring our natural world. Citizen science is simply where many people without specific qualifications but who do have the interest and time can participate in the collection of information for scientific analysis. You can be a seasoned naturalist or perhaps you can only recognise two butterfly species, but either way you can participate by sharing your knowledge and observations to create a mega sample across many geographies. With shrinking research budgets, especially in conservation ecology, citizen science is an ideal way to create large datasets for analysis. Continue reading