Citizen-science projects are blossoming all around the world. And, with their rise, networks have been forming to help them in their work. These networks aim to promote citizen science, facilitate idea sharing, and better connect researchers with citizens wanting to contribute to science. For example, in the northern hemisphere the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) and the US-based Citizen Science Association (US CSA) have recently formed. And now it’s Australia’s turn.
In May of 2014, EarthWatch held a meeting at the Queensland Museum with a range of citizen-science practitioners from around Australia. Participants discussed the idea of forming a citizen-`science network in Australia and, from this, the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) was born.
Since that initial meeting, dedicated volunteers have developed Association objectives, governance, and a website. A founding board was also nominated by working group volunteers, and one of the first tasks of the newly formed board was selecting the Australian Museum as the ACSA host institution for the next few years. The current board members are associated with a wide range of organizations, including Queensland Museum, the Atlas of Living Australia, the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness, Australian Museum, and BirdLife Australia.
There are many exciting initiatives being developed for the future of ACSA, so it is a great time to get involved. For example, ACSA membership is planning the first Citizen Science Conference for Australia, which is to take place in Canberra (23-24 July 2015). Registration is now open, and details can be found on the ACSA website.
If you know of a citizen-science project being done in Australia, and you haven’t told me about it yet, please do, as I am currently compiling a nationwide list. Also, if you have citizen-science news or upcoming events don’t hesitate to share them on the ACSA email list, as well as on our social media, which currently includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. If you would like to get more involved with the ACSA , please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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Editor’s note: Jessie is a Founding Committee Member of the ACSA. She has also recently begun a PhD on the value of citizen science at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Jessie has just returned from a US conference on citizen science and the three associations (US, Europe and Australian CSAs) are keen to work together whenever appropriate.