Our Citizen Science initiatives
Accordingly with Public participation plan, during the first year and a half of the project, we organized some activities to engage citizens, to understand their point of view and increase their awareness about our project and look at Mar Menor issues through scientific eyes.
In particular, we engaged three citizens’ group targets: i) children; ii) environmental NGO members; iii) people involved in water management.
Children as citizen scientists
In October 2021, we organized a citizen science session engaging two classes of the “Felix Rodriguez de La Fuente” primary school in “Los Nietos” (Mar Menor). In particular, 23 children (12 girls and 11 boys) in the age range 10-13 years were involved in the activity. During these sessions, we firstly explained the SMARTLAGOON project to them as well as the Mar Menor issues, and then we collected data exploiting drawings. In fact, we employed drawings as a data generator method: the idea is to ask participants to respond to a research prompt with a drawing. A picture of the session with one class is presented in Figure 10.
Based on the results of this first activity, we went back to the school in March 2022. This time we prepared a questionnaire including questions about the activity they performed in October, climate change, Mar Menor conditions and habitat, etc. Such data helped us to better understand the children’s knowledge and point of view and will feed our Digital Twins model with socio-environmental data.
Environmental NGO members
We organized a workshop in October 2022, inviting several environmental NGOs. Fifteen participants joined the event, which was structured in different phases. The first part of the workshop aimed to present SMARTLAGOON and its objectives, strategies and approach. The second part aimed to collect data from the participants. In particular, we asked them to think and write down on post-its some keywords (positive, negative, etc.) relevant for or related to Mar Menor. Then, we collected all the post-its and created some clusters based on the keywords meaning with the related connections (affinity diagram methodology). Finally, we close the workshop with a brainstorming activity, engaging all the participants in an active discussion.
This activity allows us to better understand the environmental NGO members’ key points when discussing Mar Menor. Moreover, these data will feed our Digital Twin and the resulting keywords (and the related links) will be used as relevant topics in the social sensing tool.
People involved in water-related management
We organized an event to present DischargeApp (our app developed for fast and accurate volumetric flow measurements in rivers and canals -as described in “Task 2.3”), engaging public employers of the Hydrographic Confederation of the Segura river and the General Directorate of the Mar Menor. In total, circa 20 people joined us during the event. The event was structured in three phases. First, an introduction to the Discharge platform was carried out, explaining, in particular, the functions it provides. Second, one of the researchers set-up the location, creating a validated point for users to collect the video. Finally, the citizens had the chance to try the app on their phone and collect videos to visualize (as an example, see Figure 11), once analyzed, on the DischargeWeb.
Thanks to the citizen scientists effort, the collected and extracted data will feed our Digital Twin.