EPA Citizen Science Initiatives
Borrowing a Digital Radon Monitor from your local library
The EPA are currently collaborating with Wexford Libraries in piloting a study to target householders that have previously carried out a three month radon test showing concentrations above the national reference level (200 Bq/m3). Wexford householders/library members are being offered the opportunity to borrow a digital radon monitor in the same way as a book would be borrowed. The service allows users that have already tested high for radon and not yet reduced concentrations to quickly and easily confirm that radon in their homes remains above the action level. Information and advice is available from the EPA to support householders in reducing their exposure to this carcinogenic gas.
It is hoped that this study will help to evaluate the effectiveness of how digital radon monitors encourage homeowners to remediate their homes for radon. The pilot study was launched in Bunclody library during Science week 2019 and has been extended to New Ross library as part of the Wexford Science Festival in November 2020.
Explore Your Shore
Ireland has 3,171 km of coastline and yet we have relatively few records of intertidal and coastal marine species. We lack a strong tradition of the public recording intertidal species. We are looking for volunteers like you, whether you are a surfer, angler, walker, shellfish farmer, diver, amateur naturalist or professional, to take some time to Explore Your Shore and help us record our intertidal species.
Explore Your Shore is a Citizen Science project that focuses on increasing our knowledge of the distribution of our intertidal species, exploring their potential as bio-indicators of water quality and climate change, and highlighting actions we can all take to tackle water pollution and climate change.
This project was developed and launched in partnership between the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the EPA.
The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Programme is an international science and education programme that provides school students with the opportunity to participate in data collection and to contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the earth system and global environment.
GLOBE was re-launched in Ireland in 2017 and this two-year pilot programme is managed by An Taisce in partnership with the EPA. Participating schools learn about air quality and the weather by making scientific measurements and using their data to carry out research.
Further details of GLOBE in Ireland are available from An Taisce and this video summarizes the programme. The GLOBE Learning Expedition was held in Killarney, Co. Kerry in 2018. Watch this short video to find out more.
Joint EPA/European Environment Agency Air Quality Project (CleanAir@Schools)
The EPA is currently participating in a joint European citizen science project between many of the European EPA's and the European Environment Agency (EEA). This project focuses on the measurement of nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the air resulting from car use. More information will be available here as this project is developed.
National Biodiversity Data Centre
Dragonfly Ireland 2019 – 2024 is an all-Ireland survey run jointly by the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording in Northern Ireland and is part of a 3-year citizen science project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Survey’s Goals include:
- Achieving an increase in validated Dragonfly and Damselfly species records contributing towards a 2024 Dragonfly Ireland Atlas
- Obtaining a visual assessment of habitat quality at surveyed sites
- Assessing the value of Dragonflies and Damselflies as bio-indicators of freshwater habitat quality and climate change
- Training and supporting a network of experienced dragonfly recorders in Ireland.
All data collected is freely available on the NBDC website and we would encourage your participation.
Radon in Homes
The EPA has recently carried out surveys in which over 1,400 homes have been tested for radon. At the same time as testing their homes for radon, homeowners provided data relating to the house type, age and insulation. This data will be used to help us better understand the behaviour of radon in different types and ages of homes. This means that we will be able to improve the advice we can give to homeowners about protecting themselves from this radioactive gas. More information will be available here once this research, which is being carried out in collaboration with University College Dublin, is complete.
Reconnect is an EPA funded research project carried out by University College Dublin. The aim of the project is to assess the extent and impact of flow barriers or obstacles on freshwater biology, hydromorphology and connectivity in Ireland.
Citizen scientists use an app to take a photograph of the obstacle and note some details, the location of the obstacle is then mapped via the GPS facility in the smartphone (a link to the River Obstacles App can be found here).
The information collected will be used to help build a georeferenced data layer of river obstacles in Ireland and will have many uses into the future. Ultimately, the data collected will be used to map barriers for their modification or where appropriate, their removal.
REPORTING LITTERING AND DUMPING
You can help to keep your local environment clean by using the EPA's "See It Say It" App to report littering and illegal dumping. The information is communicated via fixmystreet.ie to the relevant local authority to address the incident reported. The app works in conjunction with the National Environmental Complaints Line (1850 365 121).