ACSA is member-based incorporated association that seeks to advance citizen science through the sharing of knowledge, collaboration, capacity building and advocacy.
The Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) was first conceived in 2014 when a large number of dedicated volunteers came together to discuss how to increase awareness and support of Australian citizen science both nationally and globally.
ACSA is funded by a Commonwealth Government grant through the Inspiring Australia Program, with the purpose of supporting citizen science in Australia in partnership with the University of Sydney.
A community that supports, develops and informs citizen science.
To advance citizen science through sharing of knowledge, collaboration, capacity building and advocacy for citizen science.
The Australian Citizen Science Association actively works to:
- Encourage and promote broad and meaningful participation in citizen science.
- Facilitate inclusive and collaborative partnerships.
- Support the development of tools and resources that further best practice.
- Ensure the value and impact of citizen science and its outputs are realised.
- Establish ACSA as an effective, trusted and well recognised organisation and hub for citizen science in Australia.
What is citizen science?
Citizen science is the collection and analysis of scientific data in relation to the natural world, performed predominantly by citizens, usually in collaboration with scientists and field experts. Citizen scientists work with scientists or the scientific framework to achieve scientific goals.
Citizen science involves public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge. It’s a great way to harness community skills and passion to fuel the capacity of science to answer our questions about the world and how it works. Have a look at our 10 Principles of Citizen Science to find out more.
The ACSA Management Committee
The ACSA Management Committee
ACSA is governed by a member-elected Management Committee comprising of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, at least two General Members and a representative of the Host Organisation. Committee members are elected at ACSA’s Annual General Meeting for a two-year term. ACSA is supported by a part-time National Coordinator and a Social Media Moderator.
Our Patron is Professor Hugh Possingham, Chief Scientist of Queensland (May 2021 – current). Please see below for more info on Hugh.
Funding, MoU relationships, Strategic Plan, ACSA National Coordinator supervision.
Annie Lane has over thirty five years of experience in environmental management. She has worked in the mining industry, for State and Territory Governments, CSIRO and international organisations. Annie’s most recent role was head of Environment in the ACT. Under her umbrella were research, policy and operational aspects of Parks and Wildlife, biodiversity conservation, water and catchment management, natural resource management, environmental protection, and heritage. Annie is now involved in Landcare and Citizen Science projects in the south coast region of NSW. She joined the ACSA committee in November 2021. Annie has a PhD in terrestrial ecology. She was attracted to ecology because of the intriguing inter-dependencies within ecosystems. Put people into the mix and it becomes even more interesting! Annie is keen on making connections across organisations and further embedding citizen science in standard approaches to data collection and analysis.
Strategy and Governance; ACSA Chapter Development.
Stephanie von Gavel is the Business Development Manager for CSIRO Land & Water, and previously the Atlas of Living Australia. She has over 20 years experience in technology transfer, business development and strategy development in areas of agribusiness, inclusive innovation, biodiversity, information platforms and Indigenous related research. She has a strong commitment to citizen science, having contributed to the development of ACSA as an organization, and CSIRO and ALA’s own initiatives in this space, and has even participated in BioBlitz or two. Stephanie believes in the importance of citizen science as a mechanism for engaging with communities and individuals to drive a better understanding of science and science literacy especially if Australia is going to have constructive conversation about our environment and the STEM skills of our children (and adults).
Financial management; data quality, privacy, security, analytics.
Peter is the Director of Natirar Pty Ltd, a research and development consultancy focused on management consulting and new technology development. Previously Peter was the Smart Cities Program Leader and Innovation Challenge leader at CSIRO’s Data61.
Peter is working with universities and local governments to develop projects and programs using citizen operated “internet of things” sensors to both address local issues in communities and to contribute to national scale data resources.
Of particular interest to Peter are data quality, privacy, security and analytics for citizen science projects and building skills and awareness around these issues.
Peter is also on the board of the NSW Smart Sensing Network, the Australian Computer Society’s Internet of Things technical working group, the ARDC Data Quality working group until recently he was the Vice President of the Australian Smart Communities Association.
Education, sustainability specialist
Bill is a skilled educator and passionate sustainability advocate, developing and managing CSIRO’s Sustainable Futures programs for the last decade. Bill is also currently the Country Coordinator for the NASA sponsored GLOBE citizen science program. He has a deep understanding of the sustainability landscape in an educational context. He is proficient in translating sustainability principles and concepts into high-quality curriculum resources that meet the needs of primary and secondary teachers and engage, excite and inspire students.
Bill has taught in the UK and Australian senior school education sector. As well as teaching across the year levels he has held positions as head of science and head of technology. Prior to this Bill worked in the printing industry and chemical industry. He is currently a member of the South Australian Science Teachers Association PD Reference Group and a volunteer fire fighter with the SA Country Fire Service.
Science communication, citizen science project design
Jock Mackenzie is a tidal wetland ecologist and science communicator with over 18 years experience in field ecology. About 18 years ago Jock discovered how truly amazing and useful mangroves are and since then he has developed a passion for their conservation and protection. He’s continually surprised by the fascinating complex interactions that occur in this environment and the functional benefits they provide to people in coastal areas. His main interests are in developing an increased awareness of how people influence mangroves, the processes that detract from their capacity to provide the ecosystem services upon which we rely and what we can do to reduce those threats. In 2008 he co-founded MangroveWatch with Dr. Norm Duke to help address these issues and he is currently co-director and program coordinator. Through the MangroveWatch science-community partnership, he aims to raise awareness of the importance of mangroves, increase overall understanding of mangrove ecosystems, define local threats and processes and assess how people value mangroves in their local area. Jock has worked extensively with Traditional Owner communities in Australia and the Pacific Islands where he has developed an increased understanding of both how important tidal wetlands are to coastal indigenous Australians and the important role these communities play in conserving their local mangrove and salt marsh habitats for the benefit of all Australians.
Governance, risk and insurance, human resourcing, advocacy
Darryl is the current Executive Director of Queensland Water and Land Carers. In this role he has been able to contribute to and support the activities of many citizen scientists across Queensland and Australia.
He is very much a facilitator and enabler, and has worked within community environmental groups and assisted with many practical citizen science activities, both on ground and online. He currently works with more than 430 volunteer groups across Queensland assisting with good governance, risk and insurance, human resourcing, volunteer management and advocacy.
Astronomy, gamification, online platforms for engagement
Lisa is a project officer at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy (ICRAR) where she has managed the citizen science project AstroQuest for three years. She originally studied Astronomy, then moved into a career in 3D animation and game development. After years of working as a technical artist on animations, visualisations, games, and educational projects, Lisa became interested in “serious games” – games that have other goals than just entertainment. She began a PhD and also worked on serious game projects for organisations like the Department of Road Safety and Surf Life Saving WA, before coming to ICRAR to help develop and gamify AstroQuest.
Lisa’s specific skills lie in creating interactive experiences that are engaging, accessible and easy to use, taking a user-centred approach from the ground up. Her research focus is on the design and evaluation of digital projects with real, measurable impacts on audiences – whether they are intended to raise awareness, teach new skills and knowledge, or improve players’ mental models of complex systems. She has a particular interest in citizen science as a means of directly engaging the public in science, and creating online platforms that empower citizen scientists to get involved.
Prof Steve Turton
Business and governance, stakeholder engagement, media / public speaking
Steve is a casual environmental consultant, and an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Geography at CQUniversity on the Sunshine Coast. Over more than three decades, and prior to his retirement in July 2016, Steve engaged in a number of roles as a research centre director, professor, associate professor and senior lecturer/lecturer at James Cook University in Cairns. From 2003-2005, he was Director of Research for the Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre. Steve is a Past President of the Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, a Past-President of the Institute of Australian Geographers and Past Chair of the National Committee for Geographical Sciences, Australian Academy of Science.
In 2009, Steve was recognised with a Cassowary Award for Science from the Wet Tropics Management Authority, for his leadership and vision in the protection of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. In 2016, he was honoured with a Distinguished Fellowship of the Institute of Australian Geographers, recognised for his distinguished service to Australian Geography. Steve was the 2017 recipient of the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland’s J.P. Thomson Medal, recognised for his outstanding contributions to Australian Geography over an extended period of time. Steve was an expert reviewer for the IPCC 5th and 6th Assessment Reports, Working Group 2 (Impacts and Adaptation).
Governance and strategy, project management, procurement and grants, technology, risk management
James is a professional engineer and technology project manager by education, training and work experience. He is a passionate citizen science advocate especially in the areas of marine science and more specifically with respect to the coral and kelp reef protection and surveys. His involvement in citizen science began with his certification as a member of Reef Check in a citizen science expedition to the Maldives, to support the work of Biosphere Expeditions. He is currently involved in supporting the Reef Life Survey Foundation Inc. as its Victorian coordinator.
James recently helped secure a CoastCare Victoria grant to establish RLS’ Vic Diver Network. This project will be completed in May 2023. The works supports CoastCare Victoria, Parks Vic, DELWP and various research organisations by collecting scientific marine data of Port Phillip and Westernport bays and near shore reefs.
Stakeholder engagement and networking, community engagement, journal writing and report writing, strategic planning
Leigh has been the Executive Officer at Fitzroy Partnership for River Health https://riverhealth.org.au/ (FPRH) for the past three years. With her team, Leigh produces an annual Report Card on ecosystem health in the Fitzroy Basin in Central Queensland as well as a range of easy to understand reports, they also engage with community, facilitate collaboration between a range of industries and run a web based catchment monitoring group https://riverhealth.org.au/report_card/community/ Prior to this, Leigh was a researcher and lecturer at CQUniversity in the sciences faculty, focusing on aquatic resource management, improving the use of bioindicators to measure ecosystem health (particularly in ephemeral systems) and more recently developed a new Graduate Certificate in Research. Swapping an academic career to her current role has enabled Leigh to reconnect with the community, engage with people and their love of the environment, as well as continuing to impassion students: “As a child, I loved to play in creeks and rock pools and found myself naturally classifying what I found into groups. To make sense of the world, dont we all categorise things? I believe its this that makes us all scientists!”
Social Media Moderator
Using social media for citizen science; STEM in schools
In 2011 Michelle’s young son presented her with a spider. A redback spider. After convincing her son not to pick up spiders but to take pictures of them instead Michelle soon found she had over 7000 photos of all sorts of creatures and no idea what any of them were called. Thus a citizen scientist is made. In May 2014 Michelle was invited by Earthwatch to attend the Australian Citizen Science Associations Inaugral Workshop in Brisbane. She found herself co-chair of the Communications Working Group. Michelle and Jessie Oliver co-developed ACSA social media (Twitter, Facebook, & LinkedIn). Since then Michelle, with her orange coloured ipad clutched firmly in one hand, has been an active social media moderator, poster and tweeter for the ACSA social media platforms. Having worked in analytical chemistry for over a decade Michelle finds herself in an interesting place – a scientist as well as a citizen scientist, with a passion for science communication.
University and Community Partnerships, Citizen Science platforms, Open Science, Science Communication and Education
Dr Alice Motion is a chemist and science communicator based at The University of Sydney. Her research focuses on open science and Science Communication, Outreach, Participation and Education (SCOPE). Finding ways to connect people with science and to make research more accessible is the overarching theme of Alice’s interdisciplinary research. Alice is the founder of the Breaking Good project – a citizen science project that aims to empower high school and undergraduate students to be active researchers in projects that will improve human health. She has a strong commitment to Citizen Science and is the Co-Chair of the University of Sydney’s Citizen Science Node, which aims to enhance Citizen Science in Australia through research and practice. Alice will work with ACSA to strengthen participation in, and the impact of, Citizen Science in our region.
Amy is ACSA’s National Coordinator. She assists with managing the day to day operations of the Association, such as this website, communication (e.g. the ACSA newsletter), records & database management, meeting & event coordination and general office administration. Amy has an environmental science and education background. She began her career with the Waterwatch program in South Australia, which gave her an excellent introduction to citizen science and the role that the community can play in the collection of scientific data. She also has 7 years experience as an Environmental Adviser within a large energy company, which required her to work in some of the most remote locations across south eastern Australia and reinforced her passion for environmental stewardship.
Professor Hugh Possingham
Hugh is Queensland Chief Scientist, a role he commenced in September 2020. He is a conservation scientist and mathematician who has held a myriad of advisory roles to environmental NGOs (internationally and nationally), governments of all levels, and universities. Hugh is currently a board member for Birdlife Australia. His most significant contribution to conservation was the co-development of the spatial planning software Marxan. It was first used to rezone the Great Barrier Reef, and now used in almost every country in the world to inform the expansion of marine and terrestrial protected area systems.
Hugh is a huge advocate for citizen science. He asserts that when people are involved in discovery through citizen science they are empowered to advocate for positive action. In his recent citizen science article in The Griffith Review https://www.griffithreview.com/articles/power-to-the-people/ he wrote,
The power of citizen science to remake or reimagine the world lies in the opportunities it gives to everyone involved – opportunities to learn about the world, to pose questions about how we affect the world and to consider how any change can make a difference. Furthermore, being engaged in citizen science provides people with the confidence to speak out about matters they care about and to question policies or decisions with which they disagree.
You may also like to read a blog he wrote about citizen science and birdwatching. Hugh clearly understands citizen science and appreciates the extraordinary value it adds to scientific research and participatory democracy. We look forward to working with Hugh to raise the profile of ACSA and citizen science across society.
International Liaison Officer
International communications and developments in citizen science
Since the inception of ACSA back in May of 2014, Jessie has been heavily involved in its development, serving a total of 4.5 years on the Establishment and Management Committees. As the current International Liaison Officer, Jessie regularly jumps onto late night teleconference calls to keep tabs on the amazing work being done by our colleagues around the world, and to share happenings here at home. Most recently, calls have focused on citizen science in relation to data standardization and interoperability, local to global technical infrastructure, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and global partnerships, as well as various large-scale initiatives on a variety of topics. Beyond keeping in touch with established sister associations, Jessie is also thrilled continue learning about emerging citizen science associations and networks. This liaising role allows her to further explore her own passions for understanding how culture, practices, and policy influence citizen science in different regions of the world. As a person currently researching #CitSci technology design, she also furthers her understanding of the role that technology may play in increasing scientific and social impacts of projects, whether local or global. If you would like to get involved with international initiatives, please sing out to Jessie via Twitter or the ACSA contact us page for contact details.
Global Citizen Science Partnership Liaison
Regional and global citizen science strategic development.
A founding member of ACSA, Libby served on the first Committee and chaired the Strategic Planning and Big Projects working groups and helped organise our first conference. She has organised high level international experts and speaking tours to bring International experience to Australia. As well as advocating for citizen science at all levels, Libby nurtures regional citizen science projects – establishing the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre and the Atlas of Life/NatureMapr biodiversity mapping project, building the networks, communities and skills sharing that give them life. The Atlas of Life currently has over 400 contributors and 24 Moderators and now the NatureMapr Network has 7 regional projects able to mobilise for broad scale research such as post bushfire recovery. Libby brought together the group which produced the Australian Guide to Running a BioBlitz and the BioBlitz Hub which offers advice and resources to all. Libby promotes ACSA and Australian citizen science internationally, at conferences and working groups in Europe and the US and World Data Forum, GEO and UNEA in the Middle East and Africa. Recognising the importance of the SDGs for the sane development of society and for citizen science, Libby established the global SDG & Citizen Science Maximisation Group and more recently the new Open Science & Citizen Science Community of Practice under the Global Citizen Science Partnership (GCSP) and co-chairs the CoP working with UNESCO to develop their Recommendation on Open Science which will be formalised in 2021. Libby is the Australian representative on the GCSP Governance Group developing global agreements for GCSP incorporation.
Erin is the CSIRO Citizen Science Program Lead working to deepen existing partnerships and build new collaborations, delivering a strategic approach to citizen science nationally. Formerly, Erin worked for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) where she worked on science communication, priority knowledge acquisition, research partnerships and citizen science. Erin helped deliver OEH’s Citizen Science Strategy and Position Statement and worked to develop and implement the broader program. Erin has been on the ACSA Management Committee since July 2015, first as Secretary and then Chair, and works with the Management Committee to delivery on ACSA’s Strategic Plan. Before delving into the citizen science space, Erin worked in climate change adaptation and has a PhD in terrestrial ecolocy.
The Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) was conceived at the Inaugural Citizen Science Workshop hosted by the Queensland Museum in Brisbane on 6 May, 2014. A large number of dedicated volunteers came together and formed working groups to actively develop the structure of ACSA and build awareness of Australian citizen science both nationally and globally.
Inaugural Citizen Science Workshop
Attendees gathered at the Queensland Museum in support of the development of the CSNA on May 6th.***Please note that as of March 2015, the name of the Citizen Science Network Australia (CSNA) was changed to the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA), though the next below remains as originally written***
On 6 May 2014, 90 attendees gathered at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane to support the development of the Citizen Science Network Australia.
There was overwhelming agreement amongst the workshop participants regarding the formation of a national association/network to progress citizen science within Australia. Many new friendships were made during the breakfast networking session.
Left – Philip Roetman presents the results of the Australian citizen science survey to an audience of citizen science stakeholders.
The entire morning session was filmed (with the exception of Libby Hepburn) and is available for viewing via the links provided below:
- Citizen Science Overview – Suzanne Miller, Chris Gillies, Philip Roetman
- U.S. Citizen Science Association Overview – Abe Miller-Rushing, Jennifer Lynn Shirk
- Panel 1 – Jayne Keane (facilitator), Angela Dean, Bob Edgar, Janet Dudley and James O’Connor
- Panel 2 – Jayne Keane (facilitator), Simon France, David McInnes, Noleen Brown, Piers Higgs and Peter Doherty
- Panel Q&A – All Panellists
Lots of enthusiastic discussion occurred during the two afternoon breakout sessions which focused on defining the: (1) purpose and (2) form of the Citizen Science Network Australia. Participants were split into nine groups of ten and were asked to summarise their thoughts on vision, mission, membership, entity, governance and communication. The majority of participants supported an Australian association similar in structure to the US association. Each group presented their discussions back to all workshop participants in a facilitated manner and these summaries were reviewed and synthesised for common themes amongst groups.
Above – Workshop attendees had the opportunity to discuss the purpose and form of the CSNA in small groups and then present their ideas back to the larger group during afternoon sessions.
Those in attendance were invited to sign up to one or more temporary working groups which will formalise the outcomes of the workshop through summary documents (including scope for further public consolation). These four working groups are: (1) entity and governance, (2) charter and objectives, (3) CSNA funding and (4) communications.
The summary documents that were produced by each of these working groups are available via the links at the top of this page.
In June 2014 an establishment committee was formed and was responsible for a number of tasks such as selection of a host institution, progressing incorporation and coordinating the development of relevant organisational plans. In July 2015 formal elections were held for management committee positions. Under the 2015 Management Committee’s guidance, ACSA officially became incorporated on 30 June, 2016. The management committee released it’s inaugural strategic plan in 2016 and secured seed funding from Inspiring Australia.
ACSA’s Regional Chapters
ACSA Chapters operate under the overarching ACSA governance framework to support the values, approach and strategy of ACSA, and seek to foster an inclusive, inspiring and collaborative citizen science community in Australia. The purpose of ACSA Chapters is to help implement ACSA’s Strategic Goals, priorities and actions at a regional scale. ACSA Chapters help to build awareness of ACSA and citizen science in their local membership and areas of interest, and have the opportunity to provide a local voice, representation and communication channel at the national level.
ACSA Working Groups
Working Groups help to implement ACSA’s strategic goals, priorities and actions. Working Groups are centered around a specific area of interest focus, whether that be a particular citizen science typology, citizen science issue or community of practice. Participating in a working group is an excellent way for members to help shape the future of citizen science practice.
ACSA may periodically put a call out for the formation of Working Groups via our website, newsletter and social media. Alternatively, groups of individuals who are interested in establishing a Working Group are encouraged to apply. For all the information, including the application process, please download our Protocols and Application Template.
If you have questions about a Working Group please contact us.
Current Working Groups
The following committee has put together a robust proposal and has been approved by the ACSA Management Committee as an official working group of ACSA.
Data and Metadata Working Group
Chair: Peter Brenton (Atlas of Living Australia)
The aim of this working groups is to broaden the Australian input into the work of US Citizen Science Association Data and Metadata Working Group, in particular with respect to the PPSR-Core project, and also to give more authority to and recognition of Australia’s contributions, equivalent to the contributions being made under the auspices of the CSA and ECSA.
The ACSA Data and Metadata Working Group will:
- Contribute constructively to the development and implementation of the PPSR-Core data and metadata standard at a global level.
- Represent ACSA in the activities of the collaborations of pan-continental Data and Metadata Working Groups of all citizen science associations.
- Liaise with other initiatives in the mainstream science domains which are also involved in activities aligned with observational data, metadata and/or standards work. These include the ICSU WDS, CODATA, RDA (Research Data Alliance), GBIF, TDWG (Taxonomic Data Working Group), Australian relevant NCRIS facilities, relevant state agencies, and others.
ACSA Association Documents
Here you can find general documents of the association.
ACSA General Documents
- ACSA Strategic Plan 2019-2021
- ACSA Constitution (revised 2021)
- ACSA Management Committee – Terms of Reference
- ACSA Communication Strategy (available upon request)
- ACSA Regional Chapter Protocol
- Application Form for proposing a Regional Chapter of ACSA
- ACSA Working Group Protocol
- Application Form for proposing an ACSA Working Group
ACSA AGM Documentation
Annual General Meeting 2021, 29 October, via Zoom
Annual General Meeting 2020, 23 November, via Zoom
Annual General Meeting 2019, 11 November, Sydney, Australia
Annual General Meeting 2018, 15 November, Sydney, Australia
Annual General Meeting 2017, 14 November, Sydney, Australia
Annual General Meeting 2016, 22 November, Sydney, Australia