'Citizen Science Meets Environmental Restoration: measuring success through monitoring' was a three year project funded with support from MfE's Community Environment Fund, World Wildlife Fund and Gawith Deans Trust. Its aim was to improve the leadership, strategic direction and coordination of citizen science in New Zealand. ‘Citizen Science’ involves community volunteers using practical field monitoring tools, that meet scientific best practice, to report on the state of their local environment.

Key activities of the project included:
•    growing support for citizen science in                New Zealand
•    determining the scope and availability of             citizen science monitoring tools and training
•    investigating approaches for enabling and           expanding community-based environmental       monitoring
•    promoting more effective use of data from           community monitoring
•    sharing findings through a national                       symposium


Project period: May 2015 - May 2018.

Minister for the Environment, Dr Nick Smith, attended the first steering group meeting and confirmed $130k of CEF funding. To read more, click here.


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In NZ, citizen science is adding new dimension to how scientific studies can be carried out. As the field matures, opportunities are opening for designing novel studies and tools to collect data that would/could otherwise not be carried out by professionals alone. Community conservation groups carrying out environmental monitoring are one part of the citizen science story in NZ. This project sought to enhance our current understanding of the field as well as look to the future. To read the series of blog posts on citizen science and the project, click here.


WORKING GROUP MEETINGS                         (2015 - 2016)

Nearly 170 people came together over four meetings (Dunedin, Nelson, Palmerston North and Auckland) to better understand environmental citizen science activities underway (and planned) and network with other interested parties. Barriers and opportunities for establishing, continuing and growing projects were also debated. Participants ranged from project coordinators, educators, scientists and decision-makers across community groups/trusts, the secondary and tertiary sector, crown research institutes, to government agencies and private enterprise highlighting the broad applicability of citizen science across sectors and organisations. For an overview of barriers and opportunities, click here.


CITIZEN SCIENCE FIELD TRIPS                        (2016 - 2017)

A suite four of field trips investigated projects in action including community predator control initiatives, Marine Meter Square national coastal monitoring, and schools engaging in water quality monitoring. A panel was also held on running a BioBlitz, from scientist, museum and community group perspectives. To read field trip blog posts, click here.


TOOLS & TECHNIQUES TRAINING                  (2017 - 2018)

In Year Three the final series of meetings focused on practical training (e.g., how to monitor water quality, how to design your restoration project monitoring program). A comprehensive Inventory of Citizen Science Programs, Projects, Resources and Learning Opportunities (2016) was also produced. To read training event blog posts, click here



The rich discussions generated over the course of the project combined with a network of citizen science volunteers, coordinators and potential leaders have brought more shape to the field of citizen science in New Zealand. The next steps are to seek funding for mapping out a strategic direction for citizen science in New Zealand and address key barriers identified in working group meetings.


For further information contact  



Facebook: @CitizenScienceNewZealand


Twitter: #CitSciNZ2018