In addition to other topics, the importance and opportunities of Citizen Science were also discussed at the COST network ConservePlants meeting held in the last week of August at Coimbra University in Portugal.
Since well-thought-out and knowledgeable information is the key to engaging enthusiastic citizens, Tsipe Aavik, co-professor of macroecology at the University of Tartu and head of the Landscape Biodiversity Working Group, who led the hobby science campaign "Looking for Cowslips!" was awarded in 2019 with the National Prize for Popularising Science in the category of the new initiative.
"If we - as scientists - want to achieve a wider social profile on the issue of endangered species, it is very important that the activities of researchers in general communication are really valued in the financing of research," states Tsipe Aavik, the representative of the COST network's organising committee from Estonia. "For example, the Estonian pan-European questionnaire among the researchers who helped organise the cowslips campaign showed that communication can be difficult and time-consuming and often takes place at the expense of research, guidance and manuscript production. In this way, so-called communication fatigue is easy to come by."
ConservePlants is the network of plant scientists from all across Europe focus on exploring and gathering data on different aspects of plant conservation as well as increasing the public knowledge on rare and threatened plants.
Tsipe Aavik, firstname.lastname@example.org