Around New Zealand, hundreds of citizen-science projects are under way, from the international in scope to the hyper-local. People are invited to count wading birds, moreporks, cockles, bats, kererū, Hector’s dolphins, monarch butterflies and freshwater mussels for various government and non-profit groups. You can measure winter snowfall at your home for NIWA, upload photographs of king tides in Auckland, survey duck ponds for Fish & Game, record the coloured bands on a kea’s leg for the Kea Database, or volunteer to GPS-track your cat.
You don’t need a PhD to find a new species, unearth a rare fungus or name an asteroid. New Zealanders with no specialist training are contributing to scientific research by monitoring streams, spotting rare plants, counting the birds visiting their back gardens, and putting GPS trackers on their cats.
Dr Philip Roetman is a bit of a champion of citizen science projects. He's engaged thousands of people in projects, like tracking cats, counting koalas, spotlighting in rockpools, and recording bat calls.