In today’s Spotlight feature we are pleased to introduce the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR) and Kinga Cîmpan, Ecologist at SOR.
SOR is an independent non-governmental organisation founded in 1990. It is Romania’s largest wildlife conservation charity aiming to conserve and study wild bird species, their habitats and sites in Romania. SOR strives to increase people’s awareness of environmental sustainability and works for the protection of biodiversity and bird fauna. As the Romanian partner of BirdLife International, SOR carries out its policy and strategy with a joint global target: conservation of birds and their habitats.
The importance of citizen science and citizens’ observatories
Citizens’ Observatories and citizen science initiatives are integral components of modern and comprehensive environmental monitoring systems. Such initiatives provide citizens with new opportunities to address environmental issues affecting them and to influence local decision making. The Scent project addresses the current need for improved coordination between existing environmental citizens’ observatories and related activities at regional, European and international level. The novel and ambitious approaches in the project will not only help to expand the geographical coverage and use of citizen-powered observations, but also stimulate innovation within the private sector in the business of in-situ environmental monitoring. SOR plays a key role in the project’s community building actions and in the dissemination activities and events.
Involvement in Scent
SOR is involved in several tasks of the project, the main one being the actual field campaigns relevant to the Danube Delta pilot site. SOR will actively involve citizens in the data collection process. In collaboration with the other partners, SOR will organise different data collection sessions and validate the Scent toolbox in the Danube Delta pilot area.
Reflections on expectations
The SOR team expects to increase the involvement of citizens in the field in order to draw their attention to the importance of environmental citizens’ observatories. They also point out that involving citizens in data collection admittedly is a challenge, but they hope that educating people about some simple methods of involvement will enable the development and implementation of appropriate measures that will have a positive impact.
SOR will contribute with real data about land-cover/use collected by citizens in the Danube Delta. By participating in Scent, SOR can bring together people and nature. By involving citizens in the use of the Scent crowdsourcing platform, SOR raises people’s awareness about their surroundings.
Scent and the environment
By presenting simple methods of data collecting, SOR hopes to contribute to children’s education, the development of eco-conscious attitudes and greater awareness among citizens of changes taking place in their environment. SOR wishes this will create significant impact by increasing the environmental involvement and consciousness among citizens.
SOR will get in touch with as many people as possible in order to promote the project objectives and to actively involve citizens in data collection in the Danube Delta pilot area. SOR will be actively involved in dissemination activities and encourage people to download the apps to their mobile and use them and report events.
What is unique about Scent?
Scent is a unique project because of its complexity, from the point of view of the number of partners involved and also the complexity of the crowdsourcing platform.
Scent and other EU-funded research projects
One thing that Scent and other EU-funded research projects have in common is the involvement of citizens as active individuals in the collection of observations. Another commonality is the use of high-tech equipment for data collection, such as the harmonisation platform with other portals, drones/multicopters for collecting aerial images, and satellite images. Another common characteristic is the combination of multiple domains and the wide range of expertise of the partners leading the tasks.
Surprises so far
The SOR team is pleased to have met a large number of experts from different domains who have all done a great job. In the coming months, SOR hopes to be pleasantly surprised when the platform is ready, work with the citizens kicks off and results become available.
The overall impact of Scent in three concepts
- citizen science initiatives: giving people active roles in scientific data collection
- environmental monitoring systems: regarding environmental sustainability, working for environmental protection
- innovation: in terms of using high-tech equipment for data collection