From citizen science to citizen action: analysing the potential for a digital platform to cultivate attachments to nature

Sharma, Nirwan; Greaves, Sam; Colucci-Gray, Laura; Siddharthan, Advaith; Anderson, Helen; Robinson, Annie; Wibowo, Agung; Bostock, Helen; Salisbury, Andrew; Roberts, Stuart; Slawson, David and van der Wal, René (2019). From citizen science to citizen action: analysing the potential for a digital platform to cultivate attachments to nature. Journal of Science Communication, 18(1) pp. 1–35.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22323/2.18010207

Abstract

Identifying private gardens in the UK as key sites of environmental engagement, we look at how a longer-term online citizen science programme facilitated the development of new and personal understandings of nature. These were visible through new or renewed interest in wildlife-friendly gardening practices and attitudinal shifts in a large proportion of its participants. Qualitative and quantitative data, collected via interviews, focus groups, surveys and logging of user behaviours, revealed that cultivating a fascination with species identification was key to both ‘helping nature’ and wider learning, with the programme creating a space where scientific and non-scientific knowledge could co-exist and reinforce one another.

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