MUSANZE-The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International based at the Karisoke Research Centre, has launched a Citizen Science Program intended to develop research skills among students especially in environment, animal species and birds.
The public participatory research initiative, which will involve schools and the community in the areas surrounding the Volcanoes National Park, promotes the conservation of mountain gorillas as well as the environment while enhancing science education.
According to Katie Fawcett, the Director of Karisoke Research Centre, the program will enhance sharing of knowledge and promote research skills among students around the park.
A group of 12 students and science teachers from six secondary schools around the park, Monday completed three days of training on scientific research methodology and inquiry-based learning.
Joseph Karama, Karisoke’s Conservation Education Manager, said the Citizen Science program uses volunteers, especially students, to collect data on behalf of scientists.
“Students not only become part of research projects as data contributors, but are involved in designing and investigating their own questions, as well as analysing and presenting the results to their community and the wider world,’’ Karama said.
At the end of the training workshop, Karisoke awarded each of the six participating schools a laptop and digital camera to facilitate the students to document and share their research findings.
“After the training, students and teachers will lead their schools to conceive and implement their own research projects,” Karama said.
The students were trained in bird identification and other field monitoring techniques. They will be involved in monitoring the seasonal patterns of migratory bird species in areas around the park.