It was fantastic to read the review of citizen science that was commissioned by the UK Environmental Observation Framework (UK-EOF).

You can see details of the review here:

http://www.ceh.ac.uk/news/news_archive/Citizen-Science-Review-Guide_2012_59.html

As with any method there are positive and negative points associated with citizen science, but thankfully it is become more widely recognised as reliable method of data collection.

Personally, I feel the major benefit to this work is the connection to both science and the natural world that it cam instil. Many people go about their lives without giving a second thought to the fascinating world of urban ecology that is right in front of them.

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Pigeons allow anyone to witness amazing behaviour close up

Pigeons are often one of the first wild creatures children come in to contact with.

I also firmly believe that children can benefit immensely from being introduced to the natural world and that such early lessons can instil a life long love of the natural world. Citizen science can add an element of fun and even friendly competition to aid engagement.

Who hasn’t witnessed a child chasing a pigeon in a town centre?  I believe children taught from an early age to respect pigeons, rather than chase them may develop respect for the creatures we share our planet with.

Recently I heard a quote that I believe summarises the situation perfectly,

“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.”

If we are to raise a generation of children willing to protect the rare and the unusual, we need to start at home with the familiar, and in my view, equally wonderful.

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