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Anyone can send in records! But who wants them? Dr Linda Davies Imperial College London

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Presentation on theme: "Anyone can send in records! But who wants them? Dr Linda Davies Imperial College London"— Presentation transcript:

1 Anyone can send in records! But who wants them? Dr Linda Davies Imperial College London

2 Making environmental monitoring more accessible 1.Background 2.OPAL programme 3.A case study: British Lichen Society 4.Widening participation in environmental monitoring 5.Challenges 6.Next steps

3 Concept ‘It is not only scientists and government that should be involved in monitoring but the wider community, particularly young people.’ K. Mellanby (Editor) Environmental Pollution (1974)

4 Background : Environment “ Growth which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Earth Summit, Rio (1992), Rio+20 (2012) Agenda 21 – Action plan for sustainable development Convention on Climate Change Convention on Biological Diversity + protocols Our responsibilities ‘Governments alone cannot resolve the problems.’ ‘Everyone has a part to play.’ ‘Think global, act local.’ Survey and document the extent of biodiversity on their own territories; Promote conservation and sustainable use of land, air and water; Improve education and public awareness about the value of biodiversity.

5 Background: People Contact with nature is important for good physical and mental health (Pretty et al 2005, 2007, 2009 ; Dillon, 2011, Dickie, Ozdemiroglu & Phang, 2011; WCMC, 2012) Contact with nature is important for childhood development (Thomas & Thompson 2004; Louv, 2006; England Marketing 2009;Natural England, 2011; National Trust, 2012) “If you lose your interest in the natural world you’ve lost a very precious possession and something which could give you great pleasure for the rest of your life.” (Sir David Attenborough, 2012) “As children become disconnected from the natural world they understand it less.” (Bird, 2007)

6 OPAL Objectives 1.Get more people outside exploring and recording the world around them; 2.Develop an innovative environmental education programme; 3.Inspire a new generation; 4.Strengthen collaboration between the statutory, voluntary and community sectors; 5.Gain a greater understanding of the state of the natural environment.

7 National Centres Soil: Imperial Air: Imperial Water: University College London Climate: UK Meteorological Office Biodiversity: Natural History Museum (Taxonomy) Open University (iSPOT) Associates: Environment Agency, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Support Services Natural History Museum Portal/database/media Field Studies Council Schools/field packs National Biodiversity Network Recording software Royal Parks Newcastle University University of Nottingham University of York University of Hertfordshire Imperial College London Imperial College London (Silwood Park) University of Plymouth University of Central Lancashire University of Birmingham

8 OPAL Natural History Societies Small Grants (NHM) NHM Consultation organisations contacted 19% responded 81% did not What did they need? 86% want more members More training in whole organism biology Help with recording, validation of records and uploading data to the NBN Good websites and apps Organised programme of events to bring societies together with each other and with the public A national body to represent societies Regular sources of funding for societies Education: taxonomy and fieldwork in schools and universities 96 small grants totalling £219, Nature Groups Near You – 2013 Taxonomy resources, publicity and events

9 Case study: British Lichen Society British Lichen Society founded in founder members – several still active in the Society Council & Board of Trustees Committees: Membership, Data, Conservation, Education & Promotions, Finance. Current membership >650 (50% overseas) Objectives: to promote and advance the teaching and study of lichens; to raise public awareness of the beauty of lichens and of their importance as indicators of the health of our environment; to encourage and actively support the conservation of lichens and their habitats.

10 British Lichen Society: Data 1958 Lists were first combined and published through the Society 1963 First formal recording scheme (pre1960/post 1960) Mapping cards Mapping of data Fascicles published and sold Data now available on NBN Encouraged recorders to visit areas where data was scarce 1990sBLS Database – Biobase 2000sRecorder 2002 – Recorder 6 (current) 2003 Scottish records digitised 2009/12 England & Wales data digitised million lichen records available through NBN m records from the mapping scheme shared through NBN 2,383 species, varieties and forms 2012 Available through GBIF – 34,000 Xanthoria parietina 23,000 from UK

11 British Lichen Society: Data Costs and data sharing Data quality: huge effort with data validation Rare and scarce species go through ‘expert review’ Duplicate records have been removed Grid reference errors - 6% new records still incorrect NBN Data cleaner Recording bias: Traprain Law,Scotland: Brian Coppins -168,676 records Francis Rose – 126,758 records Chris Hitch – 73,446 records Peter James – 61,681 records 50% of 1.2m records from six recorders 99% of records from 30 active recorders BLS uses a paper-based recording system

12 British Lichen Society & OPAL Survey Research questions Design of the OPAL National Survey on Air & Lichens Testing with members and the public Training programme Video Powerpoint on lichens Training days across England Instant feedback system – what does your data mean? Educational pathway: resources for primary schools, teachers etc. Promotion of OPAL programme through radio broadcasts and interviews Events: Specimens, equipment and enthusiasm

13 Air & Lichen Survey NITROGEN SENSITIVE LICHENS +1 INTERMEDIATE LICHENS 0 NITROGEN TOLERANT LICHENS Pollution score automatically calculated when data is entered into the OPAL database Social questions, location information Activity: record lichens and invertebrates on 2-4 trees Tree girth and tree species Lichens: abundance score on trunk and twigs Invertebrates identified to broad groups Tar spot on sycamore Online results map

14 BLS: Engaging the public 20,000 packs to schools & 20,000 through regional network Lichenologist assigned to every community scientist Focus on hard-to-reach areas Schools – expert help to students involved in projects initiated by OPAL Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2012 One day training courses for beginners at field centres across England part funded by OPAL and part by BLS BLS funded Next Steps - a new BLS course to build knowledge from the initial 9 lichens to include another 20. Improvements to the membership form to encourage newcomers On going support for all OPAL initiatives

15 Engaging the public

16 Impact of OPAL Surveys 3,700 responses to online questionnaire on completion of air survey 50% of survey participants could not identify a lichen 75% would recommend OPAL to friends 87% have learnt new skills 92% have learnt something new 600 responses to detailed online survey (all surveys) 84% are likely to do another survey 45% think differently about the environment 40% are likely to join an environmental group or society 37% would change their behaviour towards the environment Fun is the word most often used to describe OPAL Taking part in research was a key motivating factor Teachers more confident about fieldwork Evidence of improvements to health Evidence of improved community cohesion

17 OPAL Data – who wants public records? Lichen records from over 4,000 sites Surveys submitted vs completed estimated at 1:5 Data Participants do not like entering data!!! >50% of data are from school children Confidence in species identification is low but 95% correctly identified Xanthoria parietina in field validation exercise majority of errors within one of the three classes thus not affecting main conclusions Analysis to be completed early 2013 OPAL Soil survey data fully analysed Public data broadly followed existing data (BGS,EA) Species level validation 60-70% correct Analysis identified interesting trends confirmed by targeted fieldwork Provided data from sites not previously surveyed Raised awareness of the importance of soil and soil research  Series of publications

18 Data quality – what can we do to minimise error 1.Help with identification 2.Help with recording 3.Use of photography 4.Rank expertise 5.Use numerical data 6.Online validation 7.Field validation 8.Source / metadata iSPOT: Social network for species identification from photographs submitted online 900,000 visitors+ to the website 17,000 registered users 100,000 photographs 88% photographs identified within 24hours 86 natural history societies Photographic records passed on to Societies Bayesian Keys - NBN mapping scheme Indicia: Basic kit to build a wildlife recording website 500,000+ users from Plantlife to British Dragonfly Society – UK & EU wide Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) to promote the exploration and development of DNA barcoding as a global standard for species identification

19 New Technology – Identification, recording, location

20 Summary: local knowledge is important 1. Exploring outdoors is fun and important for our well-being 2. All sectors of society should and can be involved in monitoring 3. All aspects of the environment can be monitored: water, biodiversity, climate 4. Contributing data makes people feel valuable 5. We need to maximise the value of the information recorded by the public: Survey design New technology Data controls Validation systems Metadata Reputation management 6. Data storage 7. Data accessibility and usability (mapping) 8. Data analysis, interpretation and application in conservation 9. Feedback to data providers essential 10. Support expertise in natural history societies and groups OPAL Earthworm Records on NBN

21 OPAL OPAL Community Report published January th National Survey May 2013 Tree Health – pests and diseases OPAL charity European NGO for lay knowledge Working in partnership with similar developments in the USA

22 Acknowledgements British Lichen Society: Janet Simpkins Barbara Hilton Pat Wolseley Big Lottery Fund OPAL Partnership - NBN Natural History Societies


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