Virtual Volunteer Events Support Community Science
While trying to navigate Covid and still engage our wonderful volunteers, CHNEP staff pivoted to a mix of virtual and in-person, socially-distanced events.
Recently, two events allowed numerous volunteers to participate in community science initiatives from their homes. The first was the Great Backyard Bird Count, which took place in February. Participants joined CHNEP for a Zoom presentation from all over southwest Florida! They learnt about the Count, the importance of community science, and different species of birds they could encounter around their house. They then were able to record bird sightings over a long weekend and add those to the international database. One participant was doing the count here in Florida, while her granddaughter was doing it in Scotland! A pretty amazing connection in these strange times. We have a YouTube video of the presentation for anyone interested that can be found here.
In March, CHNEP hosted the Earth Echo Water Challenge, in conjunction with World Water Day. We handed out water testing kits that would allow volunteers to test water bodies near their house. A presentation was again provided through Zoom and instructed participants how to use their water kits, how to add the data to the website, and the importance of water quality. One aspect that we loved about this event was the opportunity to use these kits multiple times, so the health of the same water bodies could be tracked throughout the year. Results are accepted from March to December, so we encouraged participants to go out and test longitudinally to create robust results. We look forward to collecting samples all year long! The video presentation can be found here.
We really look forward to normal times, but until then, we're so glad to be able to offer these great community science initiatives!