ClimateWatch

An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

University Delivery Partnerships

Through delivery partnerships with Australian universities, ClimateWatch is engaging the next generation of scientists, science communicators and computer scientists in projects that make a difference and build Australia’s citizen science capacity.

The success of ClimateWatch relies on sustainable delivery partnerships that create value for the partner. For example our partnership with UWA involves students from biology, science communication and computer science through:

  • Data collection and data analysis assignments for first year biology students,
  • Providing projects for undergraduate and postgraduate students in science communication,
  • Providing software development projects for undergraduate computer science and
  • Providing research projects for science communication research students.

The Process

To implement the data collection assignment partnerships the ClimateWatch Program Manager facilitates these five steps:

  1. SCOPING - Collaborate with the unit coordinators and other campus staff to plan assessment, delivery,evaluation benchmarks and develop on-campus ClimateWatch trails that help introduce students to data collection practices.
  2. TRAINING - Lecturers, Tutors and Students are introduced to ClimateWatch through tutorials and workshops.
  3. DELIVERY - Students independently collect data over the course of the semester. ClimateWatch provides ongoing support via the website and mobile app, through answering student questions, and troubleshooting technical problems.
  4. REPORTING - At the end of the semester ClimateWatch produces a report for the unit coordinator that informs assessment.
  5. REVIEWING - After semester the partnership is reviewed by both parties for impact, efficiency and value and any necessary changes to the project or partnering arrangements are made.

ClimateWatch Tutorial

This Youtube playlist demonstrates the content that can be delivered in a lecture or tutorial.

Pilot Study at UWA (2011 & 2012)

Surveys of first year UWA biology students showed that:

  • 80% reported being more engaged in their environment
  • 65% had introduced other people or plan to involve others 
  • 54% planned to continue participating in ClimateWatch beyond the requirements of their assignment

While only 35% of these students intended on environmental science related majors, the program clearly engaged   students from other disciplines within the unit.  

ClimateWatch presents an opportunity for students to gather field data, which contributes to a larger project. At UWA, this program facilitated the development of an online scientific journal called Cygnus where first year students were encouraged to analyse ClimateWatch datasets to examine their utility in answering questions about phenological responses to climate change, and the value of data generated by Citizen Science. Other applications included allowing students to form basic hypotheses on where they would be likely to observe certain animals at particular times, to organise field sampling trips on a regular independent basis, gather observational data and present the findings in the context of a national project tackling an environmental issue.

Data

All data submitted to ClimateWatch will eventually be validated and submitted to the Atlas of Living Australia, a biodiversity knowledge bank.  Data in the ALA will be for public use and help to contribute to our understanding of biodiversity within Australia.  For more information on how this data can be used within the ALA, read our article here.

Want to partner with ClimateWatch?

If you'd like to join our list of participating universities, please contact us. 

  • Australian National University
  • Curtin University
  • Deakin University
  • Flinders University
  • Monash University
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Technology, Sydney
  • University of Western Australia
  • University of Western Sydney