Category: ACSA development

Changes to ACSA’s Member Portal

ACSA recently sought suggestions from our members  on how to improve the functionality and effectiveness of our website. Following this, we have decided to proceed with an initial upgrade to our Member Portal. Our new Member Portal will be a front-facing search facility, allowing people to search for a citizen science expert, communicate with others in a relevant field or increase their professional contacts list. This change should vastly increase the functionality of the portal and help provide the networking and connection opportunities that are so often requested.

All ACSA members will have the opportunity to be profiled in this portal, and the wider community will be able to search through it.

The portal will enable you to:

  • Update your profile to advertise your skills and specialities to others;
  • Search our vast membership database using keywords;
  • Link up with others in your field or geographical area;
  • Find an expert who can help you with your project.

Whether you’re a project coordinator looking for collaborators, a researcher looking for partners, a university student looking for experience, or a volunteer looking for a project near you, the new member portal should help provide the connections or information you need, and help increase your visibility and access to citizen science all over Australia.

For more information or to discuss further, please contact us.

Putting a Citizen Science Stamp on it!

By Michelle Neil

At the end of March 2019 I had just returned from the USA Citizen Science Association’s Conference in Raleigh NC and I had just submitted my ACSA blog about my adventures. I was still buzzing about everyone I had met, the sheer volume of people (over 800!) that were at the Conference and how well citizen science was presented plus the funding and grant opportunities and global collaborations that we talked about.

Yet back in Australia, I was frustrated.  Despite the Australian Citizen Science Association’s (and my) best efforts, many Australians still didn’t know what citizen science is or how anyone can contribute to increase scientific knowledge.

My husband, John, overheard my grumbling and, with the latest Australia Post Stamp Bulletin in hand, said, “You know what you need to do? You need to suggest to Australia Post to make a citizen science stamp! They have a website address in the Stamp Bulletin where you can enter your suggestion.”

What a cool idea, I thought. As kids, my husband and I both collected stamps. My husband is still a keen stamp collector or philatelist.  Stamps are collected all around the world as they represent cultural, historical and significant times, places, attitudes and events with often intricate, beautiful designs.

I grinned, jumped online and, taking note of the theme requirements, filled in the form as me, a keen citizen scientist of Australia.

A stamp represents a piece of a country’s cultural heritage

Imagine my surprise and delight a few days later when our ACSA National Coordinator, Amy, forwarded a query from Australia Post asking to do a series of citizen science stamps…  and it was forwarded to me, as Secretary of ACSA, to respond too! I rang the contact from Australia Post to introduce myself and explain that I was actually the one that sent the original suggestion and to make sure there was no issue of conflict of interest – which there wasn’t (phew!).

My first task from Australia Post was to send them an email explaining:

  • what is “citizen science” for their researchers,
  • the different types of citizen science, and
  • to give examples of citizen science projects and why they were innovative / important.

The response to this task was perhaps one of the longest emails I have ever written with well over a dozen uniquely Australian citizen science projects suggested, each with justification, plus the link to more than 350 more projects on the Project Finder for their researchers to browse as well.

After two weeks my Australia Post contact let me know that they had chosen to feature not one, but a set of four citizen science projects on stamps to launch in the first half of 2020. Those projects were:

  1. QuestaGame – Australia’s original gamified citizen science app where you go on quests to document the biodiversity around you. Also suitable for kids with parental assistance.
  2. Butterflies Australia from Australian National University, which is a brand-new citizen science project looking at butterflies, including invasive species in Australia and its territories
  3. Ngukurr Wi Stadi Bla Kantri (We Study The Country), Ngandi Elders, Ngukurr People, Yugul Mangi Rangers (in South East Arnhem Land, NT) and Macquarie University, worked together in a co-created project to “discover species new to science, found new populations of threatened species, preserved culturally-significant wetlands, and documented the community’s plants and animals in eight local languages”. Winner of the 2017 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science.
  4. Zika Mozzie Seeker from Metro South Health, Queensland Health was the first citizen science-based early warning system to detect disease-spreading mosquitos in and around South East Queensland. Finalist for the 2018 and 2019 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prizes for Innovation in Citizen Science.

After this announcement I was asked to contact the citizen science project managers and ask for their agreement. Each of the managers were asked to provide some details, in their own words, about what their citizen science project was about and how citizens contributed to the research. The researchers were trying to get a feel for the science as well as the citizens that contributed. Artist Jonathan Chong was then asked to do some preliminary sketches and give a few options to our project managers. This went back and forth for several months until the final stamp designs were approved by all.

I learnt quite a few things about science communication and organisation during this time as I was the go-between for so many groups:

  • It is important to have only one contact for each group or I get people mixed up in my head (not good!).
  • Just because I wanted the stamps to come out in Global Citizen Science Month (April) doesn’t mean it happens (oh well).
  • Kriol is not a traditional indigenous language, but rather one spoken as a form of hybrid language across northern Australia – and someone has even translated Shakespeare to Kriol!
  • Mosquito eggs don’t look like frog eggs. They are not round but rather more cigar shaped (seriously – look closely at the stamp!).
  • Citizen science look fun as a cartoon on a stamp!
  • Just because you have finished the stamp designs doesn’t mean its over yet – there are still first day covers, stamp packs and more to design!

This stamp series, besides from being the first ever citizen science stamps in Australia, has a few other “firsts” in it as well. For example, butterflies have never been portrayed on an Australian stamp as anything other than a picture depicting actual colouring, wing shape etc – until now. This will be the first time the Kriol language will be used on a stamp – technically an Australian Government approved piece of paper winging its way around the world!

It really boggled my mind when I sat down and went through how many people and organisations were involved and how many citizen scientists and scientists too! For example, QuestaGame has thousands of citizen scientists all over the world and is based in Cairns!  Zika Mozzie Seeker has hundreds of citizen scientists but the results it produces can affect millions in Queensland and beyond.

Finally, in February 2020 we finished all the designs and approvals and the stamps were sent to the printers. I was so excited when the latest Stamp Bulletin came out in late April. You can find out more about the stamps on pages 14 – 16. The first Australian citizen science stamp sets available from the 19th of May 2020 at Australia Post and you can explore them here.

Brian Montgomery, Zika Mozzie Seeker project team leader with Michelle Neil, ACSA Secretary

ACSA-QLD – Nominations close 24th May

ACSA-QLD is seeking nominations to join its Chapter Management Committee!

The Queensland Chapter of ACSA was launched January 2019, and is now looking to build a vibrant program for the state’s community of practice (and interest). If you have a role in citizen science in Queensland and some time and energy to offer, please consider getting involved by joining the ACSA-QLD Management Committee in one of the following roles:

  • Chair
  • Vice Chair
  • Secretary / Treasurer (combined role)
  • General Committee Members (x4)

Descriptions of these roles are available here.

To nominate, please complete and submit the form online.

All Committee members must be (or must become) a subscribed member of ACSA.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact James Gullison on 0414 762 374 or via email j.gullison@griffith.edu.au.

Nominations close Sunday 24th May.

ACSA Job Opportunity

ACSA is looking for a driven, passionate and creative individual to join our team to help deliver ACSA’s 3rd national citizen science conference on the Gold Coast in October 2020. The part time, contracted conference liaison position will work closely with the ACSA management committee as well as the agency managing the delivery of the conference.

See Position Description below for more information.
Applications close February 9th.

Position_Description_ACSA_Conference_Liaison

ACSA’s new committee members

At Monday’s AGM, the results of the election were announced for ACSA’s two new General Members on the Management Committee.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the six people who nominated – the calibre of your applications was outstanding, and we wish we had room for all of you!

Thanks also to the ACSA Members who cast their vote. There were 68 valid votes.

And now…the results! Firstly, we welcome back Jennifer Loder to the committee. Your commitment to ACSA is outstanding and we are very happy to have you back on board.

Secondly, and a big welcome and congratulations to Dr. Cobi Calyx, who will be joining ACSA’s commitee for the first time! We look forward to the skills, energy and enthusiasm that you will bring.

Dr Cobi Calyx

Congratulations again, and we look forward to working with both of you over the next two years.

Meet ACSA’s new host

We are thrilled to formally announce that ACSA’s new host institution for the next three years is The University of Sydney. 

The University of Sydney was founded in 1850 and is Australia’s first University. Citizen Science is a burgeoning area of growth in both research and practice at the University of Sydney, and one that is set to expand over the next decade.

ACSA will be housed with the Faculty of Science, which is also home to Inspiring Australia NSW. This will be fantastic for strengthening our ties with Inspiring Australia going forward. ACSA will also work closely with the newly formed Citizen Science Node at the University, which oversees all the projects across the university that fall under the citizen science banner.

The node’s co-director, Dr. Alice Motion, was featured recently in this article about the official recognition and support of citizen science within academic institutions. With the vision to “become a world-leading hub for the advancement of citizen science that is ethically and methodologically rigorous.” ACSA is very excited about its new home!

ACSA Chair Erin Roger signing the Affiliation Agreement with our new Host Representative Dr Alice Motion

Voting open – 2019 AGM

Voting is now open for the election of members to the ACSA Management Committee for 2020-2021. We received six nominations for the two General Member positions available.

The six candidates are listed below – you can find their profiles and answers to four questions about the field of citizen science, together with details relevant skills and experience, here.  Alternatively, you can access individual profiles by clicking on the images below. Please use this information to help you decide which two candidates to vote for.

General Member Candidates

Jordan Gacutan (NSW)
Dr Cobi Calyx (SA)
Jonathan Inglis (VIC)
Dr Maxine Newlands (QLD)
Rosalinde Brinkman (QLD)
Jennifer Loder (QLD)

Remember, you must be a Member to vote!

Ready to vote now? Members, log in here to access the ballot.

To become a member and vote, visit: https://citizenscience.org.au/join-now/.

Remember, ACSA membership gives you the power to select Committee members who can help build this association and advance the field of citizen science in Australia.

Voting will close at Midday (AEDT) on Monday 11th November. 

Vote Now!

Notice of 2019 ACSA AGM

ACSA would like to extend you an invitation to attend the 2019 Annual General Meeting of of the Australian Citizen Science Association and elections for two General Member management committee positions.

During the AGM we will provide:

  • An overview of our achievements from the year;
  • A summary of the 2018-19 Financial Statement, and
  • An opportunity for members to elect two new General Members to the management committee.

AGENDA

1:00pm – Doors Open

1:00pm to 1:15pm – Registration / Networking

1:15pm – Annual General Meeting

2:00pm – Close

DETAILS

Monday 11th November, 2019

Meeting Room 450 | Level 4 Carslaw Building F07 | Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney, NSW 2006 (Meeting Room 450 directions)

For those unable to attend in person, we will be offering the meeting as a Zoom meeting and we will also live stream it via our Facebook page. For details please click here.

Interested in joining the Management Committee?

Being involved in the ACSA Management Committee is a highly rewarding experience which provides members with an opportunity to engage with peers, professionals and the community to help advance citizen science both within Australia and globally.  Nominating for a Management Committee position shows your willingness to be a crucial part of the ACSA team for 2020 and beyond. You are committing to attend a minimum of one committee meeting a month. For the Terms of Reference of the Management Committee, and list of basic responsibilities of each position, please click here.

We ask that you fill out and submit the nomination form. All nominations will be reviewed by the current committee, and someone from ACSA will be in contact with you. Nomination deadline is Monday 28th October, 2019.

Nomination Form

Questions?

Please contact Amy Slocombe on 0423 902 810.

Nominate for a role on the ACSA Committee!

It’s an election year for ACSA, which means that ACSA Members are eligible to nominate for a position on our Management Committee! We have two General Member positions coming up in November. We are looking for motivated, enthusiastic people who have a little bit of time available to dedicate to growing ACSA and helping us achieve our strategic goals.

Skills or experience in fundraising, grant writing, graphic design and/or WordPress would be advantageous! And the perks are that you get to work with a group of motivated citizen science lovers and shape the future direction of ACSA!

For more information about what being on the Management Committee entails, please refer to our Terms of Reference.

If you would like to nominate, please click here to access the nomination form. Nominations are due Monday 28th October.

Tell us more – updating your ACSA member profile

Two of the key findings from the Member Survey we conducted last year are:

  • people are seeking a community through ACSA, and
  • members are most interested in exchanging knowledge & experiences, and building a professional network.

To help facilitate these wishes, we’ve expanded the ‘My ACSA Profile’ section on our website and invite you to enter additional information about yourself and your citizen science experience / engagement. We hope that this will help foster that sense of community and enable you to learn more about other members interests and skill sets, which may help achieve that goal of building a professional network. This information will only visible to other ACSA members who are logged in to the membership portal. 

We are also working on a search function, which we hope, in time, will allow you to search for ACSA members who are based in Western Australia and who are interested in human health, for example. This sort of capability will be fantastic in terms of allowing you to connect with others in your field, or in terms of finding the right person to answer a question you may have.

We invite you to update your ACSA member profile now. Click on the link below, select My member profile > Profile > Edit.