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Anyone can send in records ! But who wants them? . Dr Linda Davies Imperial College London l.davies@imperial.ac.uk. Making environmental monitoring more accessible . Background OPAL programme A case study: British Lichen Society Widening participation in environmental monitoring

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    1. Anyone can send in records!But who wants them? Dr Linda Davies Imperial College London l.davies@imperial.ac.uk

    2. Making environmental monitoring more accessible • Background • OPAL programme • A case study: British Lichen Society • Widening participation in environmental monitoring • Challenges • Next steps

    3. Concept • ‘It is not only scientists and government • that should be involved in monitoring but • the wider community, particularly young people.’ • K. Mellanby (Editor) Environmental Pollution (1974)

    4. Background: Environment “Growth which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Earth Summit, Rio (1992), Rio+20 (2012) • Agenda 21 – Action plan for sustainable development • Convention on Climate Change • Convention on Biological Diversity + protocols Our responsibilities • ‘Governments alone cannot resolve the problems.’ • ‘Everyone has a part to play.’ • ‘Think global, act local.’ Survey and document the extent of biodiversity on theirown territories; Promote conservation and sustainable use of land, air and water; Improve education and public awareness about the value of biodiversity.

    5. Background: People • Contact with nature is important for good physical and mental • health • (Pretty et al 2005, 2007, 2009 ; Dillon, 2011, Dickie, Ozdemiroglu & Phang, 2011; WCMC, 2012) • Contact with nature is important for childhood development • (Thomas & Thompson 2004; Louv, 2006; • England Marketing 2009;Natural England, 2011; • National Trust, 2012) • “If you lose your interest in the natural world you’ve lost a very • precious possession and something which could give you great pleasure • for the rest of your life.” (Sir David Attenborough, 2012) • “As children become disconnected from the natural world they • understand it less.” (Bird, 2007)

    6. OPAL Objectives • Get more people outside exploring and recording the world around them; • Develop an innovative environmental education programme; • Inspire a new generation; • Strengthen collaboration between the statutory, voluntary and community sectors; • Gain a greater understanding of the state of the natural environment.

    7. Newcastle University National Centres Soil: Imperial Air: Imperial Water: University College London Climate: UK Meteorological Office Biodiversity: Natural History Museum (Taxonomy) Open University (iSPOT) University of Central Lancashire University of York University of Nottingham University of Birmingham University of Hertfordshire Support Services Natural History Museum Portal/database/media Field Studies Council Schools/field packs National Biodiversity Network Recording software Royal Parks Imperial College London Imperial College London (Silwood Park) University of Plymouth Associates: Environment Agency, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

    8. OPAL Natural History Societies Small Grants (NHM) • NHM Consultation - 800+ organisations contacted • 19% responded 81% did not • What did they need? • 86% want more members • More training in whole organism biology • Help with recording, validation of records and uploading data to the NBN • Good websites and apps • Organised programme of events to bring societies together with each other and with the public • A national body to represent societies • Regular sources of funding for societies • Education: taxonomy and fieldwork in schools and universities • 96 small grants totalling £219,498.00 • Nature Groups Near You – 2013 • Taxonomy resources, publicity and events

    9. Case study: British Lichen Society • British Lichen Society founded in 1958 • 25 founder members – several still active in the Society • Council & Board of Trustees • Committees:Membership, Data, Conservation, Education & Promotions, Finance. • Current membership >650 (50% overseas) • Objectives: • to promote and advance the teaching and study of lichens; • to raise public awareness of the beauty of lichens and of their importance as indicators of the health of our environment; • to encourage and actively support the conservation of lichens and their habitats.

    10. British Lichen Society: Data • 1958 Lists were first combined and published through the Society • 1963 First formal recording scheme (pre1960/post 1960) • Mapping cards • Mapping of data • Fascicles published and sold • Data now available on NBN • Encouraged recorders to visit areas where data was scarce • 1990s BLS Database – Biobase • 2000s Recorder 2002 – Recorder 6 (current) • Scottish records digitised • 2009/12 England & Wales data digitised • 2012 1.2 million lichen records available through NBN • 0.5m records from the mapping scheme shared through NBN 2,383 species, varieties and forms • 2012 Available through GBIF – 34,000 Xanthoriaparietina 23,000 from UK

    11. British Lichen Society: Data • Costs and data sharing • Data quality: huge effort with data validation • Rare and scarce species go through ‘expert review’ • Duplicate records have been removed • Grid reference errors - 6% new records still incorrect • NBN Data cleaner • Recording bias: TraprainLaw,Scotland: • Brian Coppins -168,676 records • Francis Rose – 126,758 records • Chris Hitch – 73,446 records • Peter James – 61,681 records • 50% of 1.2m records from six recorders • 99% of records from 30 active recorders • BLS uses a paper-based recording system

    12. British Lichen Society & OPAL Survey • Research questions • Design of the OPAL National Survey on Air & Lichens • Testing with members and the public • Training programme • Video • Powerpoint on lichens • Training days across England • Instant feedback system – what does your data mean? • Educational pathway: resources for primary schools, teachers etc. • Promotion of OPAL programme through radio broadcasts and interviews • Events: Specimens, equipment and enthusiasm

    13. Air & Lichen Survey Social questions, location information Activity: record lichens and invertebrates on 2-4 trees Tree girth and tree species Lichens: abundance score on trunk and twigs Invertebrates identified to broad groups Tar spot on sycamore Online results map NITROGEN SENSITIVE LICHENS +1 NITROGEN TOLERANT LICHENS -1 INTERMEDIATE LICHENS 0 Pollution score automatically calculated when data is entered into the OPAL database

    14. BLS: Engaging the public • 20,000 packs to schools & 20,000 through regional network • Lichenologist assigned to every community scientist • Focus on hard-to-reach areas • Schools – expert help to students involved in projects initiated by OPAL • Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2012 • One day training courses for beginners at field centres across England part funded by OPAL and part by BLS • BLS funded Next Steps - a new BLS course to build knowledge from the initial 9 lichens to include another 20. • Improvements to the membership form to • encourage newcomers • On going support for all OPAL initiatives

    15. Engaging the public

    16. Impact of OPAL Surveys • 3,700 responses to online questionnaire on completion of air survey • 50% of survey participants could not identify a lichen • 75% would recommend OPAL to friends • 87% have learnt new skills • 92% have learnt something new • 600 responses to detailed online survey (all surveys) • 84% are likely to do another survey • 45% think differently about the environment • 40% are likely to join an environmental group or society • 37% would change their behaviour towards the environment • Fun is the word most often used to describe OPAL • Taking part in research was a key motivating factor • Teachers more confident about fieldwork • Evidence of improvements to health • Evidence of improved community cohesion

    17. OPAL Data – who wants public records? • Lichen records from over 4,000 sites • Surveys submitted vs completed estimated at 1:5 • Data • Participants do not like entering data!!! • >50% of data are from school children • Confidence in species identification is low but • 95% correctly identified Xanthoria parietina in field validation exercise • majority of errors within one of the three classes thus not affecting main conclusions • Analysis to be completed early 2013 • OPAL Soil survey data fully analysed • Public data broadly followed existing data (BGS,EA) • Species level validation 60-70% correct • Analysis identified interesting trends confirmed by targeted fieldwork • Provided data from sites not previously surveyed • Raised awareness of the importance of soil and soil research • Series of publications

    18. Data quality – what can we do to minimise error • iSPOT: Social network for species identification from photographs submitted online • 900,000 visitors+ to the website • 17,000 registered users • 100,000 photographs • 88% photographs identified within 24hours • 86 natural history societies • Photographic records passed on to Societies • Bayesian Keys - NBN mapping scheme • Help with identification • Help with recording • Use of photography • Rank expertise • Use numerical data • Online validation • Field validation • Source / metadata Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) • to promote the exploration and development of DNA barcoding as a global standard for species identification Indicia: Basic kit to build a wildlife recording website • 500,000+ users from Plantlife to British Dragonfly Society – UK & EU wide

    19. New Technology – Identification, recording, location

    20. Summary: local knowledge is important • 1. Exploring outdoors is fun and important for our well-being • 2. All sectors of society should and can be involved in monitoring • 3. All aspects of the environment can be monitored: water, biodiversity, climate • 4. Contributing data makes people feel valuable • 5. We need to maximise the value of the information recorded by the public: • Survey design • New technology • Data controls • Validation systems • Metadata • Reputation management • 6. Data storage • 7. Data accessibility and usability (mapping) • 8. Data analysis, interpretation and application in conservation • 9. Feedback to data providers essential • 10. Support expertise in natural history societies and groups OPAL Earthworm Records on NBN

    21. OPAL • OPAL Community Report published January 2013 • 7th National Survey May 2013 • Tree Health – pests and diseases • OPAL charity • European NGO for lay knowledge • Working in partnership with similar developments in the USA

    22. Acknowledgements British Lichen Society: Janet Simpkins Barbara Hilton Pat Wolseley Big Lottery Fund OPAL Partnership - NBN Natural History Societies