Local engagement in science


Learning about tree regeneration, Cairngorms, Scotland

Involving local people in Arctic science has many advantages, for both scientists and local communities. In this section, we focus on different ways of involving local people, including through education programmes, citizen science, Community-Based Monitoring and sharing traditional and local knowledge.

What is citizen science?

Broadly speaking, citizen science is the involvement of volunteers in science. Perhaps a better definition is 'scientific research conducted wholly, or in part, by amateurs or non-professionals' (Wikipedia).

Citizen science is not new. Keen individuals have been helping professional scientists with surveys and other studies for many years. In many countries, our current understanding of wildlife and the wider environment is due in large part to the efforts of amateur naturalists and enthusiastic volunteers.

Important in this context, especially in the Arctic, is Community-Based Monitoring (CBM). It draws on the traditional and local knowledge of communities (in many cases indigenous people of a region). Members of a community may also undertake more 'western-style' scientific monitoring as part of a citizen science project. In well-designed CBM programmes, the community is heavily involved in the design and operation of initiatives, maintains and retains ownership of the data and is free to use the results as they wish.

Traditional and local knowledge (TLK) is immensely valuable, as this example of using local knowledge, from our INTERACT partner FINI in the Faroe Islands shows.

This section of the website aims to provide useful information about citizen science and community-based monitoring in the Arctic and subarctic. We hope this will be of interest to anyone looking to take part in a programme or who wishes to set up a new project.


Citizen science and you!

Have you taken part in a citizen science project in the Arctic or Subarctic? If so, please contact us. We'd like to hear about the project and your experiences. Thank you.

Local engagement at INTERACT stations

We've collected examples of local engagement at INTERACT here