Monitoring ecological change in UK woodlands and rivers: an exploration of the relational geographies of citizen science

Dunkley, R. A. (2019) Monitoring ecological change in UK woodlands and rivers: an exploration of the relational geographies of citizen science. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44(1), pp. 16-31. (doi: 10.1111/tran.12258)

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Abstract

The adoption of citizen science methodologies by environmental organisations and ecologists entrusts the task of collecting ecological data to non‐experts operating at a local scale. This presents individuals and communities with opportunities to monitor ecological change and contribute to local environmental management. Little is known about why volunteers choose to participate in burgeoning contemporary citizen science research initiatives. The aim of this paper is thus to explore volunteer motivation for involvement in two environmental citizen science initiatives, based in the United Kingdom. It contributes to understandings of the socio‐geographical influences that act on participation in environmental citizen science. It is proposed within this paper that affective connections with local geographies provide a conceptual framework for understanding citizen science motivations. The paper discusses the main themes emerging from site‐based, in‐depth interviews with 22 citizen science participants in various UK locations. The study revealed that early affective bonds formed with ecological spaces endured throughout life courses, while citizen science participation offered a way of remaining connected to local environments. The paper reflects on the endurance of affective environmental bonds and their manifestation within the expressed motivations for citizen science participation, which emerged as fulfilling a compulsion to observe ecological surroundings, a desire to participate in environmental research and a commitment to protecting local environments. The paper proposes that citizen science participation offers a framework to connect to and protect local and global affinity spaces, while assisting in monitoring global environmental change.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dunkley, Dr Ria
Authors: Dunkley, R. A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Journal Name:Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0020-2754
ISSN (Online):1475-5661
Published Online:25 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)
First Published:First published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 44(1): 16-31
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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