13 June 2012

Professor Chris Daniels bringing science to the suburbs.It was more than 2000 anecdotes and guided observations that contributed to the publication of The Fearsome Flute Players: Australian magpies in our lives. The book is an accessible guide, not only to the habits of magpies and how they exist in the urban landscape, but also the place of this iconic Australian bird in our hearts.

It is this blending of science, education, curiosity and passion about science, shared with everyday people, which is a hallmark of citizen science. 

And according to the acting director of the University of South Australia’s Barbara Hardy Research Institute, Professor Chris Daniels, it is a powerful tool in protecting the environment.

In a free public lecture as a part of UniSA’s Knowledge Works series, Professor Chris Daniels will explore the place of citizen science in the world of the scientist and the life of the community through the examples of four major citizen science projects that have been undertaken in South Australia.

The lecture will be held on Tuesday June 19 at 6.00pm in the Allan Scott auditorium at UniSA’s City West campus.

“Citizen science, where we ask members of the public to play a role in monitoring or recording information within their environment, is important because it gives researchers access to much more data and data from places to which they may not ordinarily have access,” Prof Daniels says.

“But more than this - by including individuals, groups, schools or towns in collecting data, it actually makes people partners in the research and in the goal of understanding and caring for our environment.”

Professor Daniel has led four such projects to learn more about blue-tongue lizards and their survival in the settled landscape, Magpies, spiders and possums.

“The success of the projects has been amazing,” Prof Daniel says.

“Over the studies we’ve had more than 9000 surveys completed across the four key projects and an extra 3000 participants in a special two-day “Bring us your bugs” project conducted with the SA Museum.

“We have had extraordinary cooperation and partnerships with local media, schools and community groups and I believe the projects have had an impact in developing a stronger consciousness about our urban ecology, the animals that share our world and how we can live well together.”

Bookings for this exciting exploration of citizen science can be made online  and more information is available by phone or email knowledgeworks@unisa.edu.au or  08 8302 9164.

More information about UniSA’s Professor Chris Daniel’s citizen science is also available online

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office (08) 8302 0966 mobile 0418 823 673 email michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au


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