Citizen Science Projects

Citizen science (or science for citizens) is the voluntary public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase knowledge and foster community involvement in the scientific process. Amateur naturalists and community groups contribute valuable skills, knowledge, ideas, and passion to scientific projects. At TERN, we occasionally run such citizen science projects. Please bookmark this citizen science website page and check back often for new citizen science opportunities. Find out what we do in the ecological research space, or learn more about the research impact made by TERN (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network) to see how we and our work contributes to the wider research community.

Citizen science projects complement TERN’s scientist-led ecosystem data collection in Australia, facilitating broad-scale spatial and temporal coverage, impossible to collect otherwise with TERN’s resources alone. TERN supports carefully planned citizen science projects and efforts that have the potential to generate significant amounts of high-quality data. If you are a member of the public interested in or searching for citizen science opportunities to participate in, continue reading below to see our currently open citizen science projects.

Wild Orchid Watch

Wild Orchid Watch (WOW) is an exciting national citizen science project designed to collect, record and share scientific information about Australian native orchids—a useful indicator of biodiveristy change.  

WOW is five things: an app; agreed methods; information resource; data collection; and data sharing.

WOW was created through a partnership between TERN’s Ecosystem Surveillance observatory platform; the University of Adelaide; and native orchid enthusiasts across Australia with grant funding from the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia Science Engagement Programme.

Wild Orchard Watch Logo | Featured Image for Citizen Science Projects Page by TERN
Robert and Sal in the field | Featured Image for Citizen Science Projects Page by TERN
Field testing | Featured Image for Citizen Science Projects Page by TERN
Prasophyllum plant | Featured Image for Citizen Science Projects Page by TERN

The WOW app, developed by TERN in collaboration with orchid enthusiasts, has been designed for researchers and the public alike.

The app feeds orchid photos, data and habitat information to the highly successful online citizen science platform iNaturalist for community identification and interpretation.

You can install the WOW app on your mobile device simply by typing into your internet browser: and following the prompts.

Data collected via the WOW app are made publicly accessible for research, policy and planning purposes, and will ultimately help to resolve conservation and taxonomic questions about Australian orchids. This information will have far-reaching applications at a national level, well beyond the orchid family.

Install the WOW app on your mobile device by following the prompts.

Citizen Science Opportunities with TERN – A Rewarding Way of Making a Real World Impact

Science for citizens is a rewarding way of making an impact and contributing to important, real-world research projects. Become a part of the TERN community and help us understand Australian ecosystem changes that threaten rare species or support us in the discovery of hitherto unknown kinds of flora. Your contributions are important, expanding on our own resources here at TERN, your data will be shared with real world scientists who need the information you gather for their research. Your participation in our citizen science projects will make an impact on real world research projects.

Why Participate in TERN Citizen Science Projects?

Our vision is to continuously grow long-term, national-scale Australian terrestrial ecosystem data to be used globally. Our mission is to provide long-term preservation and access to analysis-ready data for researchers and decision makers to help Australia prepare for the future.

Citizen science projects complement scientist-led ecosystem data collection. By participating in these TERN projects, you are helping to achieve these goals. The data you collect can be used by scientists and researchers nationally and globally to advance the understanding of Australia’s ecosystem and improve the long term outcomes for our environment. Browse the current citizen science opportunities on this page and begin your participation today.