Posted by: kubke | February 15, 2010

Citizen Science New Zealand goes camping

What happens when you put around 200 motivated people in a room and let them decide what to talk about? Well, if that happens in Warkworth, New Zealand, then it is Kiwi Foo Camp. Structured as an unconference, the group introduces itself to each other start talking and, one by one, session themes are proposed which slowly populate the empty schedule board on the wall. By the end of the first night, the slots are taken, and the conference schedule is set.

And so it is that Kiwi Foo happens. (Well, actually, Nat Torkington, Jenine Abarbanel and Russell Brown make this awesomeness possible in the first place). With invited attendees coming from very different backgrounds (software developers, politicians, media, artists, scientists, etc.) the discussions that emerge develop multiple and sometimes unexpected dimensions. And they don’t disappoint: they are energizing, inspiring and as awesome as the people that participate in them.

Citizen Science New Zealand was there, and one of the sessions centred around this project and Citizen Science in general. It was a great opportunity to step back from the every-day handling of the project and do some soul searching around the strengths and weaknesses of the Tui Project, discuss its level of success, and think about the future of Citizen Science New Zealand. We received great input and it was also great to have in the room some of our Citizen Scientists and cheer-leaders.

To all of those who participated in the discussion at Kiwi Foo, we would like to extend our thanks for your input, constructive criticism and ideas. To the rest of you, we invite you to provide us with your feedback on this comments page (or, if you want to do it privately, through our email account).

Posted by: kubke | February 7, 2010

Back to School: Don’t forget popscinz!

I have started seeing the uniformed youth heading back to school, which made me think it is time to remind everyone about one of the purposes of popscinz.

The Tui project was our first experiment on Citizen Science, but at least I hope it can go a bit further than that. If you are a teacher, are still a school student, or a parent of one (or know one for that matter), take advantage of this site. The data from the Tui project is freely available for everyone to use as they like, and I would love to see schools taking advantage of all of your contributions.

Similarly, if a citizen science project seems to be a good approach for your school, please let us know and we will give you access to the site so that you can start your own project.

It was recently pointed out to me by Cameron Neylon, that, at least in the UK Universities are considered commercial institutions. I am not sure whether that is true in New Zealand, or whether that also applies to Primary and Seconday schools. If it does, then the Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA licence that this blog is under, does not extend to all educational use.

Because there has been substantial contribution from New Zealand Citizen Scientists to this site based upon the origina licencing, I think it would not be right for me to change the licence at this point in time. However, I would like to extend the licencisng of the material that “I” contribute to the site  to be freely available for any educational purposes within and outside New Zealand.

If you would like to use content provided by the public, please contact us and we will try to help you with that.

Once again, we keep looking forward to receiving your tui sightings!

Posted by: kubke | February 4, 2010

Watch Mike’s Tui video….

Mike, one of our citizen scientists has sent us a great video of  a Tui in Kirita Bay, Coromandel filmed about mid-January.

It must be said that we have had multiple technical trouble trying to get this to the rest of you, so thank you Mike for your patience and perseverance!

The time has come to continue sharing the photographs sent to us by our citizen scientists.

Paul Knight from Levin has sent us this wonderful picture of a tui.

Tui on Flax Pyramid, by Paul Knight, Levin

Funnily enough, although I have enjoyed Tui birds since I moved to New Zealand, I have not seen a single one since this project started. So thank you all for sharing your pictures, since it seems this is the only way I can see one this summer!

Paul also sent us these other two, which I was reminded of during the past gloomy and cloudy weekend in Auckland:

Tui flying (2) by Paul Knight, Levin

Tui flying (3) by Paul Knight, Levin

I told you on my previous post that my short disappearance had to do with my attending two conferences. One was Science Online 2010 in the USA, the other was 2010 in Wellington. I learned heaps of stuff on both, and I will hopefully be able to share some of that with you over time.

But where did both intersect?

My fellow twitterer @br3nda approached me at and asked me how the Tui project was going, followed by a “when will you start a dinosaur project?”. Well, funnily enough, I heard all about the Open Dinosaur Project at Science Online 2010, where I had the chance to meet and chat with Andrew Farke, one of the people behind this great citizen science project.

I encourage you to visit their site and consider contributing to it as well.

And hopefully, I will soon get around finishing the list of wonderful citizen science projects that are popping up all over the place to share with all of you.

In the meantime we all still keep looking forward your data.

Posted by: kubke | January 26, 2010

We are back after a small unanticipated break!

Many of you may have noticed that the site went quiet for a few days….

The reason is that I went to a couple of conferences where I learned two important things:

  1. The wordpress site can be really slow when on limited internet band
  2. Although I love my new netbook, it is virtually impossible to fit a spreadsheet in its small screen

But I am now back with good internet and a larger screen and I  have updated all your entries. Over the next few days I will be double checking that there are no mistakes in the entered data (some of you have already picked up on some spelling mistakes on the google docs spreadsheet!).

Once again, we apologise for the silence, but we are back full strength to continue receiving your data!!! Keep it coming! I will be telling you about the wonderful things I learned at the conferences over the next few posts.

Posted by: kubke | January 20, 2010

You can now text message your data for the Tui project

After a few days disconnected, I am still trying to catch up with all the great data you have been sending our way.  So you should soon start seeing the latest of your data back up on the old good google docs sheet.

In the meantime, and because some of you asked for it, we have now set up a phone number where you can text us your observations. (Please do not leave us a voice message). You can still post your observations on the website or via email.

The phone number we have set up is 021 109 6727.

Looking forward to continue hearing from you!

Posted by: kubke | January 10, 2010

We are still keen to hear from our citizen scientists

Thanks to all of you who are contributing data. We are very grateful and the data you are sending is fantastic.

We continue to compile all of the data we receive on the website or by mail on a spreadsheet that lives in google docs here. We should soon be able to have a way for all of you to text us your observations (we will let you know when that is finally set up).

In the meantime, enjoy these beautiful pictures!

Judy told us that tui often come to a flax plant near their picnic table, one at a time. But sometimes a second one will fly in and scare the first one away.

Tui (Sept 08) by Judy and Graeme Keall, Manakau Village

Eileen told us that there is a great population of Tui in the Kapiti coast, and they even named one Tama, who would come to feed and sing early in the morning.

Tui in Paraparaumu Beach by Eileen and Bill Mofatt

Posted by: kubke | January 9, 2010

Tui make great photographic subjects

We are continuing to post the photographs that our citizen scientists/photographers are happy to have us share on the site.

Vivienne says that she often sees tui perched on power lines and on the ngaio tree at the front of the house.  This is a lovely picture!

Tui by Vivienne, Hungleigh Park Way

 Trevor told us that a Tui sang a new year’s wish from this Banksia tree, and then flew off… What a great way to start the year!

Banksia Tree by Trevor Harrop, Stratford

Posted by: kubke | January 8, 2010

More Tui pictures to share

Many of our great citizen scientists that are also great photographers are happy to share their pictures on this site. Librarykris, is not only sending us great data but has also began posting her pictures on Flickr. You can see those pictures here.

Paul Knight has sent us some pictures and we are sharing this beautiful one of his with you today. (You can visit Paul’s photography site here as well).

Tui and Flax, by Paul Knight, Levin

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