While many projects have stressed the scientific quality of citizen science activities, there has been less inquiry into the ‘citizen’ part of the phrase ‘citizen science’. EnviroCitizen proposes that the social capacity potential of citizen science extends to the very roots of what it means to be a citizen of the planet. We want to understand the ways in which citizen science involvement has been and could be in the future used to cultivate environmental citizenship, which encompasses new ways of thinking and acting in all aspects of life to promote environmental sustainability. The EnviroCitizen project brings together seven partners in Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Netherlands, Romania,
Spain, and Cyprus to uncover the processes by which citizen scientists working in environmental-based activities can strengthen their environmental citizenship. We have selected to study birding activities because they hold great potential for developing environmental citizenship. We will:
- assess the evolution of citizen involvement in citizen science birding activities;
- evaluate how citizens learn about and enact environmental citizenship through their citizen science birding activities; and
- develop innovative community interventions designed to complement existing citizen science birding programs in order to cultivate environmental citizenship in the future.
We will create new knowledge and community interventions in six different languages and cultures across Europe through an ambitious multi-language school-based educational program and public engagement events to both increase participation in existing bird counting activities and raise environmental citizenship as a deliberate outcome of involvement in these activities. We have engaged ornithology non-profit organizations as supporting external groups in the project in order to facilitate the research tasks as well as uptake and impact of the project’s intervention deliverables.