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Ministry of Environment

Citizen Science

Citizen Science is a term used to indicate that volunteers, many of whom may have no scientific training, participate in the gathering of scientific data. The volunteers follow standard protocol to collect their data and report back to a central database. The data may be displayed either as raw data, summarized in maps or published as reports and is available to both scientists and the public.

Citizen science not only increases the research capacity of scientists, but also engages the public in scientific activity. Some think of it as the democratization of science, where science is taken outside the walls of universities and research institutions.

Citizen science has been successfully used by a number of programs, the longest running and most well known of them being the Christmas Bird Count, run by the Audubon Society since the early 1900s. B.C. Frogwatch collaborates with NatureWatch Canada, which monitors many environmental aspects including frogs, plants, ice and worms.