James Borrell is a biodiversity scientist and science communicator researching how people and nature can adapt to environmental change.

Citizen Science Challenge #2: Commit Yourself

The Challenge:

January is the month of New Year resolutions. February is the test of keeping them. This month the challenge is easy, and takes barely a moment. Commit yourself to becoming a Citizen Scientist by signing up to some of the worthwhile projects kicking off this year.

Commit Yourself:

For me, February is the month of making plans with Spring just around the corner. It’s only 8 weeks until British Summertime after all. With the Spring come a host of exciting projects. No matter what your interest is, I guarantee there will be something for you.

In January I kicked off my Year of Citizen Science with the Armchair Conservation Challenge which dared you become camera trap experts from the comfort of your home. This month, we’ll go one step further by signing up to some of the exciting Citizen Science Projects coming up around the country.

Signing up is easy, pick something that sounds interesting, head over to their website and join their mailing list. If you do that, you’ll be joining thousands of other volunteers up and down the country that are responsible for making these initiatives such a success. You’ll also be helpfully reminded as the surveying seasons approach.

It’s all part of the big plan too, because later in the year I’ll be featuring some of the awesome projects by BTO, Plantlife, OPAL and more. So scroll down and take a look!

Citizen Science:


2013 is my Year of Citizen Science: A whole year of championing outstanding conservation projects and encouraging as many of you as possible to take part.Facebook:



British Trust for Ornithology

“Through the efforts of volunteers participating in BTO surveys, the bird populations of the British Isles have been monitored more effectively and for longer than those of most other parts of the world. This has produced a uniquely rich and detailed body of scientific work helping us to understand the complex challenges facing wild birds”

Find out How to Take Part.

British Dragonfly Society

“The British Dragonfly Society (BDS) was founded in 1983 by a small group of dragonfly enthusiasts and scientists. The BDS needs your support. Although many species of dragonfly are doing well almost a third of our species are in decline. National Dragonfly Week 2013 will take place from Saturday 20 July to Sunday 28 July.”

Here’s How to Get Involved.


“Plantlife has 23 nature reserves across the UK covering more than 4,500 acres (1,800 hectares) in total. Wildflowers Count is the UK’s only annual national wild plant survey. Every year you can help keep track of some of the most common wildflowers.”

Take a look at How Do I Get Started?

Big Butterfly Count

“The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapdily become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies. An impressive 25,500 people took part in 2012, counting 223,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK (see the 2012 results).”

Here’s a great video explaining the project.

OPAL Bugs Count

“An incredible 96% of all known animals are invertebrates. Bugs, or invertebrates, are a vital part of our environment. They can pollinate plants, recycle nutrients, and they provide an important food source for birds and mammals. Your findings will help scientists learn more about the distribution of invertebrates across the country.”

Particularly good for kids, here’s how to take part.

National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme

“There is growing concern that even our widespread amphibian and reptile species are in national decline. The National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS) is led by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust aims to tell us more about trends in their status across the UK. Through volunteer-based surveys, we aim to monitor the conservation status of all UK amphibian and reptile species.”

Why not Sign Up!

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