The new European SUSTAIN network aims to engage pupils and their families in research projects – what is known as citizen science – on bird migration and water management. The Erasmus+ project is coordinated by Science LinX, the science centre of the University of Groningen (UG) Faculty of Science and Engineering. Twelve European partners will develop e-learning modules on ‘sustainable landscapes’ and research in Spain, Cyprus and the Netherlands, linking learning inside and outside the classroom.
“Sustainable landscapes” refers to the process of balancing the different functions of the green environment for e.g. agricultural, natural, recreational and urban use to meet human needs, while maintaining an ecological balance of the landscape to ensure a liveable planet for future generations. In other words, how can we as a society use the landscapes around us for our needs - food supply (agriculture and dairy farming), industry, housing and recreation - without negatively affecting the landscape, thereby making sure that next generations have a healthy planet to life on. Currently, landscapes are degrading due to conflicts between functions. For instance, due to the intensification and industrialisation of agriculture, the population of farmland birds and thus the biodiversity in agricultural landscapes in the northern Netherlands is rapidly declining. This biodiversity crisis is not restricted to agricultural landscapes in the Netherlands, but a general phenomenon as the conservation status of species and habitats, including natural habitats, is generally unfavourable. We believe that sustainable landscapes is a viable solution to prevent further decline.
Though Citizen Science (CS) is a very flexible concept for always being connected to and depending on different disciplines and situations, there are some key principles developed by the European Citizen Science Association that show the main concepts of the work which includes the involvement of independent volunteers in science projects: CS projects actively involve citizens, who may participate in multiple stages of the scientific progress and may act as contributors, collaborators, or project leaders, in scientific endeavour that generates new knowledge or understanding. It is considered a research approach like any other and always have a genuine science outcome. Both the professional scientists and the citizen scientist benefit from taking part including learning opportunities, social benefits, satisfaction through contributing to scientific evidence and are acknowledged in project results and publications. Unlike traditional research approaches, CS provides opportunity for greater public engagement and democratisation of science.
|03 November 2022 3.42 p.m.