BGE’s first citizen science workshop took place in early April in Mata de Vilar, Portugal.The three-day workshop, called ‘The Little Things That Run the World’ was organised by BIOPOLIS – CIBIO. It aimed to create awareness on the diversity and importance of invertebrates. A total of 12 participants – ranging from municipality technicians to (biology) university students – took part in the workshop.
The workshop consisted of a mix of theoretical and field sessions, brainstorming, games and practical work, including explanations on sampling methods (introduction and trap setting) and interaction with plants and animals (e.g. pollinators). Newly developed educational games such as the ‘DNA barcoding BINGO’ -using pieces of DNA sequences instead of regular bingo numbers- were also part of the programme.* The participants were also invited to create games of their own during the “Game Factory” within the workshop. The idea was to create an animal board game -focused on different animal stages and interactions with their natural habitat- and develop an invertebrate game/activity that the participants could implement in their workplace or municipality.
The workshop was warmly received by the participants, who mentioned having gained more insight into the DNA barcoding concept. Suggestions, such as the need for a follow-up of the developed games, were also shared. The next one-day follow-up ‘sampling’ workshop of BIOPOLIS – CIBIO is scheduled for next September 2023.
* In this game, teams of participants received a card representing an environmental DNA sample with six DNA sequences, each representing a species present at the site where the sample was collected.The objective was to fill in the card as quickly as possible and, using a guide, name the six species present in the sample.