A wilder way to learn

Citizen Science – Collaborate in Scientific Research

Join a citizen science program and contribute to the essential cutting-edge research.

Our natural world is under threat. Ecosystems, habitats, plants and animals are all facing existential challenges – including us. We have to take action to save our home. Our citizen science programs have been specifically designed to meet this moment. If you’re passionate about conservation and sustainability, and want to get directly involved in resource management and outreach activities that contribute to this vital fight, join us today.

Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

Our programs contribute to world-class research that is leading the critical fight against biodiversity loss.
Ethical

Ethical

We pledge to do good only through meaningful, considered action that can make a proven difference in the world.
Sustainable

Sustainable

Using the UN’s SDGs as a framework, we’re committed to conservation solutions that are built to have a lasting, positive impact.

What is citizen science all about?

Overview
Why a citizen science program?
Locations
Programs
FAQs

What is citizen science?

If you are concerned about the environment and want to help make a difference, then you are the ideal citizen scientist. 

Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase knowledge about particular species, habitats or ecosystems. 

You don’t need a science degree or conservation background. All you need is a keen interest and curiosity to learn and unlearn from nature, and a keen interest in assessing and recording the state of the world around us. 

What does a citizen scientist do?  

Participants who join us as a citizen scientist, will receive basic training on:

  • species identification and orientation 
  • how to conduct field surveys
  • how to collect data
  • how to report findings.

 

Across our hubs, citizen science participants will be involved in observing nature with a critical lens, and collecting important data on various species such as birds, insects, reptiles, flowers and trees. 

In addition, you will get an opportunity to:

  • network and promote new ideas
  • advance your understanding of conservation issues  
  • develop your leadership and program coordination skills.

 

The wildlife-monitoring programs, online databases, data visualisation, technology sharing, and other community efforts you are involved in as a citizen scientist are used by researchers, conservationists and partner institutes to understand the conservation issues in that particular ecosystem. It also plays a direct and vital role in how that region’s biodiversity is protected and maintained. 

Highlights

  • Develop hands-on conservation monitoring management skills
  • Develop your observation and reporting skills
  • Learn about plants, ecosystems, habitats and animals
  • Learn survey techniques 
  • Contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #13 Climate Action and #14  Life Below Water

Citizen science – be part of on-the-ground research 

As a citizen scientist, you’ll be working on location as part of a research team. You will work directly with local communities and on-the-ground research teams,  gathering data and developing research aimed at finding sustainable, impactful solutions to real-world conservation questions. 

Citizen science – develop your research skills 

Working alongside researchers and like-minded people across the globe will give you a chance to understand the broader relevance of data collection processes, data visualisation, and project design, facilitation and research. All while immersing yourself in a new culture and making a tangible impact towards conserving the natural world. 

Citizen science – make a meaningful impact 

Our citizen science programs contribute directly to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #4 Quality Education, #13  Climate Action, #15 Life on Land and #17 Partnerships for Goals. Citizen science provides a novel solution to complement and enhance official statistics, while at the same time potentially mobilising action and raising awareness for achievement of the SDGs. Citizen science also has much to offer to other international agreements and frameworks, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, Paris Agreement, Aarhus Convention, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, New Urban Agenda, among others.

You can volunteer as a citizen scientist across three continents in terrains ranging from tropical rainforest to ocean ecosystems.  

Citizen science in Chiang Mai, Thailand 

Travel to the remote northern province of Thailand’s Chiang Mai province, where you will catalogue endemic and migratory bird species. 

Citizen science in Cahuita, Costa Rica

Our Costa Rica citizen science program gives you a chance to document the amazing biodiversity in the dense rainforest and spectacular coral reef system that our research teams have exclusive access to in Cahuita National Park. Plants, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles and marine species – you will get to work with some of the rarests animals on the planet! 

Citizen science in Tenerife, Canary Islands

Dive into the sparkling blue waters of the Canary Islands, where our conservation efforts are focused monitoring whale and dolphin species. You’ll also be involved in ongoing research around the problem of marine debris – and how to clean up our oceans.

Our citizen science programs include a range of focus areas: 

Citizen science and marine pollution 

Plastic leakage into marine ecosystems has grown sharply in the last decade, and is projected to double by 2030, with dire consequences for human health, biodiversity and climate.

Plastic is an unfortunate but indispensable reality for communities that live along coastlines the world over. While necessary for economic activity, plastic marine debris and the associated pollution has become a massive ecological disaster, adversely affecting  communities living in  – and depending on – coastal ecosystems. 

Our mission in these communities is to: 

  • Clear beaches and surrounding waters of pollution.
  • Gather meaningful data on marine debris using citizen science programs such as Dive Against Debris, or the marine debris program of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Support the United Nations Environment Program #cleanseas campaign.
  • Strive to reduce plastic use by finding alternative sustainable solutions.

 

Citizen science programs for bird lovers

If you’re an avid bird-lover looking to get involved in bird conservation. Or if you’re keen to study those rare bird species only found in tropical forests, then this is the citizen science program for you. 

Our locations are home to more than 2,000 species of birds, and tracking the health of these birds is an immense but essential challenge. That’s where you come in. As a citizen scientist on this program, you will spend your time in the forests around our hubs, collecting data and periodically uploading your findings to the citizen science e-bird platform. Monitoring these species in their habitats is an essential part of their protection and conserving the unique biodiversity necessary to ensure the survival of these beautiful birds.

Citizen science program for naturalists 

If you’re someone who is fascinated by birds, bees, insects, mammals, reptiles and every element of nature, then this program is for you. 

As a naturalist, you will be spending most of your time observing nature around you and recording it. Using the iNaturalist platform, you will take photos and record audio clips of everything from frogs, insects, moths and birds, while closely observing the relationships between these animals and their environments, and how the relationships change over time.

I am new to citizen science. How does it work?

If you love to spend your time outdoors, exploring nature, and learning all about the weird and wonderful life you find, then you’re a citizen scientist. On our citizen science programs, you will:

  • catalogue and analyse your observations
  • learn more about wildlife by participating in daily species identification sessions 
  • submit your observations to global research databases 
  • share your observations and findings on social media.

 

What citizen science databases will I contribute to?

You will contribute all your data on plants, insects, mammals and reptiles to iNaturalist – a multimedia scientific archive for research, education and conservation. 

Do I have to be a qualified scientist or have a degree to participate?

No prior training or experience is required. This program is designed for anyone who has a passion or interest in their natural environment. 

Will scientists and conservationists really use this data?

Yes! You will be contributing to a vast, vital global database that allows scientists to track changes in species, habitats and ecosystems. This data is being actively used to answer some of our most important scientific questions and the research you contribute to is often published in highly reputable journals.

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Latin America

New and Exclusive: GVI Experiences

A locally curated selection of extra activities are now included across our programs.

Learn to pick and husk a coconut

Learn to pick and husk a coconut

Visit the world's oldest sea turtle research group

Visit the world's oldest sea turtle research group

Meditate on the beach at sunrise

Meditate on the beach at sunrise

Take a jungle nightwalk and frog watch

Take a jungle nightwalk and frog watch

Canoe along jungle river canals at dawn

Canoe along jungle river canals at dawn

Stargaze and learn the northern constellations

Stargaze and learn the northern constellations

Hike an extinct volcano, Cerro Tortuguero

Hike an extinct volcano, Cerro Tortuguero

Visit a sustainable chocolate farm

Visit a sustainable chocolate farm