Citizen science gets a boost – there’s even more reason to join in! Community, Education, Environment, Family, Volunteering on Environment Matters

The idea that our observations can form part of important scientific work has already been an attractive one – but our contributions just became even more useful.

Dr.Nathan Jones of Rothamsted Research explained to Amanda Yorwerth on Environment Matters how mathematical modelling by epidemiologists could now enhance the data produced by the observations of volunteers by effectively filling in the gaps. His team had used the data given to the Forestry Commission through the Tree Alert website, and they’d found their mathematical modelling could enhance the reports and give even better information about the spread of tree diseases like acute oak decline. Although the work had been done using data about tree diseases, the same modelling could be used for other things that spread through the landscape. Dr.Jones encouraged us all to take part in citizen science projects, especially now his work had made them even more meaningful.

So here’s a few ideas for citizen science projects that you might like to take part in:

Tree Alert: there are so many lethal tree diseases that are spreading across the country, many of which are likely to pop up around St.Albans any time soon. Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp is new to this country and was sighted in St.Albans and Oak Processionary Moth is a particularly nasty pest that is gradually spreading out from London. The website or app are easy to use, you don’t need any specialist knowledge and anyone with sharp eyes and a smart phone or camera can help.

The Great British Wildflower Hunt: is run by Plantlife and is specially designed so it is fun not just for adults but also for children to take part. Again, absolutely no specialist knowledge is required and reports of any wildflowers are welcome – common or rare, in the country or around town, here around St.Albans or whilst you are out for the day. A great way to keep kids interested if you are out for a walk.

Mammals on Roads: this might seem a bit gruesome, but the People’s Trust for Endangered Species want to hear about mammals you find dead on the road – it gives them a great insight into mammal populations in general. All the information you need on identifying mammals is provided and it could be a great way to add interest to a long car journey.

If you know of another Citizen Science project that you think might be of interest then email