Celebrating Citizen Science: Citizen Science Fair 14-15 April 2018

18 Apr 2018 - 16:15

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and partners (including the Plant Conservation Unit (PCU), Cape Citizen Science and others) held a Citizen Science Fair at The Old Mutual Conference and Exhibition Centre at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens over the weekend (14-15 April 2018). Hundreds of citizen scientists attended the Saturday event, which had a fantastic line-up of talks (see programme below), as well as display stands and interactive workshops on a variety of citizen science projects including SANBI’s Custodian of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) and Karoo BioGaps projects, iNaturalist, ToadNUTS, rePhotoSA, The Virtual Museum, and many more. Opportunities were provided at the event for citizen scientists to sign up for a field trip of their choice on the Sunday. The citizen science fair was aligned with international citizen science day organised on the same day (see:


Welcome to CitSciDay2018! Photographs taken by Samantha Venter. 

The PCU team, including Samantha Venter (rePhotoSA project co-ordinator), Sonto Mtolo, Abraham Dabengwa, Gina Arena and Zander Venter manned the rePhotoSA display stand at this exciting event and spoke to many enthusiastic current and future repeat photographers throughout the day, including citizen scientists John Watermeyer and Clare Mortimore. In addition, Samantha Venter enlightened attendees with a talk on “rePhotoSA: repeat photography and environmental change in southern African”. rePhotoSA is a joint initiative between the PCU and the Animal Demography Unit at University of Cape Town. It encourages citizen scientists to take and upload repeat photographs of historical landscapes which will assist researchers to better understand landscape and vegetation changes over time. The project was launched in August 2015 and currently there are numerous historical photographs that are yet to be repeated, hopefully with the public’s involvement, many of the gaps on the database will be filled.


Top Left (left to right): John Watermeyer, Clare Mortimore and Samantha Venter. Top Right: rePhotoSA display stand. Bottom: Samantha Venter presented on rePhotoSA. Photographs taken by Zander and Samantha Venter.

It was a great opportunity for many organisations to showcase their projects and, in particular, the PCU is grateful to have connected with the Cape Citizen Science and CREW teams in organising this event. “I have never attended an event of this sort before and I know very little about ecology but through all those insightful presentations; I must admit that I was really fascinated and informed,” said Sonto.

~ Article written by Sonto Mtolo

Below are some more images of the day:

Ismail Ebrahim (SANBI) opened the citizen science fair and welcomed everyone to the event. He then spoke about the CREW project. Photographs taken by Samantha Venter.

Joey Hulbert (Stellenbosch University) spoke about Cape Citizen Science, which aims to monitor disease in Proteas in the Cape. Photographs taken by Samantha Venter.

Prof Les Underhill (Animal Demography Unit) spoke about The Virtual Museum and the usefulness of data collected by citizen scientists.
Photographs taken by Samantha Venter.

A crowd of interested citizen scientists listening to the talks given in the first session of the day. Photograph taken by Gigi Laidler.


Centre for Astronomical Heritage showing citizen scientists how they could get involved with their future astronomical archiving citizen science project. Photographs taken by Gigi Laidler.

Left: The Transcribathon. Right: CREW members at their information stand. Photographs taken by Gigi Laidler.

Citizen Scientists get to know more about the different projects. Photographs taken by Gigi Laidler.