Newsletter #3, November 2019
An Ecosystem of Citizen Observatories for Environmental Monitoring
Dear reader,

We are delighted to present our third WeObserve newsletter. We hope you enjoy it!

WeObserve is a three-year project, funded by the European Commission. More specifically, 
WeObserve is an H2020 Coordination and Support Action (CSA) which tackles three key challenges that Citizen Observatories (COs) face:  awareness, acceptability and sustainability. The project aims to improve the coordination between existing Citizen Observatories and related regional, European and International activities.

The scope of the newsletter is to provide regular updates on project progress and inform you about highlights, WeObserve and other relevant events, as well as to call you to action!

In the current third issue, among others, we talk with Mel Woods and Saskia Coulson, from University of Dundee, about the first WeObserve Massive Open Online Course on citizen science. We provide you with insights of the H2020 Citizen Observatories and European Commission joint event that took place in Brussels. We are proud to share the new open access Nature Sustainability article about citizen science and the UN SDGs that WeObserve helped develop. We also present the highlights of the first CO4EO Workshop that showcased how citizen science data can be combined with earth observation data towards improved environmental monitoring. In addition, we encourage you to take a look at the new Citizen Observatories policy brief. Last but not least, we give you an overview of the most prominent upcoming citizen science events.

If you wish to find out more and you cannot wait up to the next newsletter, visit our website on 

Did you know - the world's longest-running wildlife census is coming up and it is based on citizen observations? Stay warm and keep observing!

The WeObserve team

A conversation among Dr.Saskia Coulson and Professor Mel Woods, discussing the WeObserve online course:'Citizen Science Projects: How to Make a Difference'
This course started on the 18th of November, 2019, is free and open to everyone.
Sign - up on FutureLearn here.

Saskia Coulson (SC): The idea of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has been growing in popularity for the past few years. Why did WeObserve decide to make one about citizen science?

Mel Woods (MW): Citizen Science has also seen a huge rise in popularity, and now climate change is raising people’s awareness, they want to do something, but it can be difficult to figure out where to start. The WeObserve project brings together four European and African Citizen Observatories (COs) combining efforts to tackle three main challenges that COs face: awareness, acceptability and sustainability. One of the four COs involved, the GROW Observatory, has been using MOOCs to support their participants on a learning journey about environmental issues, as well as train them to collect and use data. We also discovered that MOOCs were a great way for people from all over the world to learn together about citizen science and share their knowledge with each other, an added bonus is that the scientists who have written the course are able to join in and answer queries as well.
We’re in turbulent times, and there are a lot of people who are very concerned with the environment, and are facing increasing climate events, like wild-fires and flooding. The WeObserve partners have been developing some really exciting projects, and now they can share their ways of working and knowledge in a MOOC to pass this on to others who want to do something similar. That’s why we created this course.  We’ve seen how citizen science has empowered many individuals and communities in gathering evidence and creating strong cases for change, and also by taking matters into their own hands.

Read more.

Watch the MOOC trailer. Discover how to build your own citizen science project to address environmental issues and create positive change. 
The joint event of H2020 Citizen Observatories with European Commission took place on 9/10/2019 in Brussels

Observing the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities in Citizen Science

The WeObserve project hosted a special event, “Observing the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities in Citizen Science”,held on 9 Oct 2019 in Brussels in cooperation with the European Commission. It brought together four sister projects on Citizen Observatories (COs) for Environmental Monitoringfunded by H2020 and launched in 2016, and commission representatives working closely with citizen science initiatives.
The participating CO projects (LandSense, GROW Observatory, Scent, and Ground Truth 2.0), which have either concluded their activities or are in their final year, showcased their achievements,  shared best practices and challenges faced.Interactive sessions and a fishbowl discussion sought solutions and reccomendations for future COs.

Read more as well as the full report here.
Citizen Science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

WeObserve partners and citizen science practitioners have developed a new article ‘Citizen science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’, published in Nature Sustainability. The article debates what role citizen science can play in meeting the SDGs, as a new and non-traditional source of data. The article, is made available through as open access. You can read and download from here.

The first WeObserve CO4EO Workshop was held in Salzburg, during the EARSeL Symposium 
The first CO4EO Workshop, entitled as “Citizen Science and Conventional Earth Observation”, took place duing the 39th annual symposium of EARSeL, in Salzburg, Austria, on July 2nd 2019. The workshop, organised by the H2020 WeObserve project ( showcased best practices to combine crowdsourced data capitalization in combination with earth observation data (through sensors) in order to improve monitoring of various environmental phenomena. The 4 H2020 COs , GroundTruth 2.0, Scent, GROW and LandSense, presented their innovative applications as well as other tools developed in their projects to assist and improve environmental monitoring. All presentations from the first CO4EO Workshop are available here.
Read more.
More News...
A Citizen Observatories' policy brief is now available
Citizen science has a long tradition, the establishment of Citizen Observatories (COs) is recent. It is the big data, the fast developments in Information and Communication technology (ICT) that led in this evolution.

The idea behind Citizen Observatories, is to use citizen-powered science in order to address key issues in environmental monitoring. European Union is strongly supporting this endeavor within the FP7 and H2020 programmes, aiming to overcome the obstacles and encourage citizen to be actively involved in environmental decision-making.

The main issue to be tackled for the successful implementation of citizen science and citizen observatories is the readiness of policy makers in terms of awareness, acceptability and sustainability.

Read the full policy brief here.
Upcoming Events
In this section find out the most important upcoming events.
For more events and more information per event, visit the online calendar in WeObserve website and stay up-to-date.
G-STIC 2019
November 20-22, 2020
Brussels, Belgium
9th Living Knowledge Conference
June, 24-26,2020
Groningen, The Netherlands
ECSA Conference 2020
May 24-26, 2020
Trieste, Italy
2020 Ecsite Conference
June 11-13, 2020
Ljubljana, Slovenia
WeObserve partners
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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020
Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement NO 776740.