CITIZEN SCIENCE - Help Us Document Wildlife

Learn more about local biodiversity, explore UAE wildlife, and support conservation.

About the project

While we may live in a desert, the UAE is full of life and unique biodiversity. The first step in local conservation efforts is getting to know the species that are present, where they live and when they are around. Help us increase our wealth of knowledge of what is out there in the UAE, by becoming a trained citizen scientist, spending time in nature and learning more about the species that call this country home.

Quick Start guide

  1. Sign up to iNaturalist, either online or through the mobile app
  2. Search for, and join the “Notice Nature UAE” project (on the website select the "Community" tab on the top banner, on mobile select “more” on the bottom righthand corner)
  3. Take photos of wild plants 
  4. Try to identify those plants (check out our field guides)
  5. Upload and share your observations on iNaturalist
What is Citizen Scientists in Nature?

Citizen Scientists in Nature is a project where volunteers can enjoy nature and share photos of their wildlife sightings with Emirates Nature-WWF through the digital tool iNaturalist. We provide the necessary toolkits and training to support you in identifying the species you are reporting, as well as verification by our own staff and a global community of scientists and naturalists through the app and website.

For the first phase of this project, we will focus on plants. Why plants? They are the foundations of the food chain and studying their abundance and diversity can tell us more about what other species can survive and thrive.

Join our conservation efforts! Take part in our short training workshops and use our field-guide and mobile app to become an active citizen scientist.

Looking ahead

While the first phase will focus on plants, we hope to target other taxonomic groups in the future so check back often!

How does the activity work for volunteers?
  1. Attend a Exploring Nature Through Citizen Science workshop or directly download the Notice Nature UAE Volunteer Handbook, which is Emirates Nature-WWF’s all-inclusive guide.
  2. Once you have completed your training, the fun begins!
  3. In your free time, explore your natural surroundings and take photos of the different plant species that you come across. Use a combination of tools to identify your sightings as best as you can, including our field guides and the Seek and iNaturalist mobile apps.
  4. Report back to Emirates Nature-WWF with at least 10 research grade sightings to validate your volunteer hours.
How you will contribute to local conservation

Your observations will help us understand more about the local biodiversity and what species exist in the UAE, both in the urban spaces we live in as well as less-disturbed areas.

This is valuable data that can be used in lots of ways to contribute to local conservation. It will help us

  • compile a baseline of information
  • inform and monitor our conservation efforts
  • promote biodiversity
  • support a healthy ecosystem
  • inform key decision-makers about the impacts we have on our environment
  • map the diversity and abundance of local species
  • map the spread of non-native species into wild areas
  • monitor trends as the project takes place and beyond
  • monitor variances in seasonality

We also want to encourage more people to get in touch with and spend more time in nature. Research shows that spending time in nature improves our mental resilience, as well as our physical health and wellbeing.

Last, but not least, you will help us expand the image database of local species.

Local biodiversity is a relatively understudied area. By increasing sightings on Seek and iNaturalist, we will help expand the database of species imagery, thus strengthening photo-identification software and making future identification easier. This will strengthen future open-source data and allow for more research into our local wildlife!

Who can join?

This activity is self-led and open to anyone.

How long will the activity take?

As the activity is self-led, you can explore nature for as long as you want and whenever you can.

Downloads

 

Common wild flora flash cards

Click on the button below to register for this activity.

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