1st – 2nd December 2023

Time: 9.50 am – 2.00 pm

The conference will be a 2-day virtual meeting where participants will interact over a Discord workspace, the link to which will be sent to registered participants closer to the conference dates.

Note :
1. All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST).
Day 0: Thu, 30 Nov 2023
Time Event
16:00 – 17:00 Meet & greet + Acclimatizing to Discord
by Organising Committee

Channel: #lounge-2023
Day 1: Fri, 1 Dec 2023 – Curated by Geetha Ramaswami
Time Event
09:50- 10:00 Introduction to the Conference + Discord server
by Organising Committee

Channel: #keynote-theresa-crimmins
10:00- 10:50 Citizen science and education: a meaningful match
by Theresa Crimmins

Channel: #keynote-theresa-crimmins
11:00- 12:00 Panel Discussion – Citizen Science and Education – Sujatha Mundolly, Arun Venkataramanan , Bhuvan Pathak, Shyam Phartyal

Channel: #panel-session-2023
12:00- 13:00 Lunch
13:00- 14:00

Poster Session

Channel: #1-dec-poster

Citizen Rain Gauging for Education – Peeyush Sekhsaria

Butterflies of Hyderabad and Surrounding Area: Observations of a Young Insect Enthusiast – Pradyut Baireddy

Campus Phenology Network: Updates from a young network – Swati Sidhu & Saranya Nair

Celebrating India’s Citizens Collab for City Nature Challenge! – Ram Dayal Vaishnav & Priya Venkatesh

Macrofauna of Stella Maris College – A Preliminary Study – Harini C & S.A. Vidhya

Ants of Stella Maris College – Anagha S, Annette B Sebastian & S.A. Vidhya

Facilitating climate change education through citizen science – Suhirtha Muhil Maheswaran, Geetha Ramaswami & Swati Sidhu

Role of education and awareness in amphibian monitoring: lessons from Monsoon Croaks bio blitz 2023 – Ahirbudhnyan M, Balakrishnan Peroth, Joseph Justine, Ashik. M.E, Nithin Divakar,
 Deepak. K

Day 2: Sat, 2 Dec 2023 – Curated by Anita Varghese
Time Event
10:00- 10:50 National Plant monitoring programme celebrates 20 years of inclusive citizen science participation
By Domitilla Claudia Raimondo and Suvarna Parbhoo

Channel: #keynote-domitilla-suvarna
11:00- 1200

Poster Session

Channel: #2-dec-poster

Urban Wildlife Conservation Triumph: Rescuing 38,000 Animals across 210 Species – Colonel Navaz Shariff

Bird Collisions – what we know and how to get less charismatic topics on citizen science – Ashwin Vishwanathan & Peeyush Sekhsaria

Pune Bird Atlas: mapping birds in the Pune city – Pankaj Koparde, Pooja Pawar, Siddharth Biniwale, Pankaj Koparde, Kedar Champhekar, Manali Rane, Ranjana Gosavi & Madhur Rathi

Impact of coastal armoring on avian communities in sandy beach habitats of Kerala and Karnataka – Sanath R M & Abhirami C

The Patch Monitoring Project: Insights from systematic monitoring at local birding ‘patches’ – Mittal Gala & Ashwin Viswanathan

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00- 14:00 Practitioner’s clinic – Barriers to Inclusivity in Citizen Science- Language, Technology, Access.
by P.Jeganathan, Bhavya George

Channel: #practitioners-clinic
14:00- 14:10 Closing note by the organising committee

Channel: #practitioners-clinic

Confirmed Keynote Speaker

Theresa Crimmins

Theresa Crimmins

Director, USA National Phenology Network

Theresa Crimmins is the Director for the USA National Phenology Network where she supports an amazing team of individuals towards the growth and use of phenology data and resources curated by the USA-NPN, involvement in Nature’s Notebook, and a broader appreciation of phenology among scientists and non-scientists alike. Theresa is also an Associate Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona and a faculty team member in the Integrated Climate Research: Ecosystems, Water, and Weather (ICREWW) Vertically-Integrated Project. She has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in journals including Nature, Geophysical Research Letters, Global Change Biology, and Journal of Ecology. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Hill, and the Arizona Daily Star, and she has appeared in the PBS productions SciGirls and American Spring Live as well as on NPR and The Weather Channel. Theresa is an author on the Ecosystems and Biodiversity chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, is a member of the inaugural cohort of NEON Ambassadors, and is a Fellow of the Linnean Society. She mentors undergraduate and graduate students in phenology-related research projects. She also currently serves on the editorial board for Ecosphere. In 2018, Theresa received the Alumni Achievement Award from the Department of Geography as well as the Globally-Engaged Pillar Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan.


Citizen science and education: a meaningful match

Citizen and community science offer unique opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds, ranging from schoolchildren to senior adult volunteers, to engage in all stages of scientific discovery. The field of science benefits tremendously through the data and observations contributed by this pool of participants. In turn, participants in citizen science efforts enjoy increases in science literacy and an understanding of the process of “doing science”, a deepened sense of place, and a greater understanding and appreciation for the phenomena they are observing or measuring. The Nature’s Notebook program, a plant and animal phenology monitoring program offered by the USA National Phenology Network, engages individuals and hundreds of formal, non-formal, and informal educational institutions in tracking the timing of seasonal events in organisms. Participants regularly share how they appreciate the sense of purpose, the educational gains, connections with others that they receive through participating with others in this activity. These insights are shaping resources to further improve Nature’s Notebook participants’ experiences and to sustain long-term engagement.

Domitilla Raimondo

Threatened Species Programme Manager, South African National Biodiversity Institute


Suvarna Parbhoo

Citizen Science Programme Leader, South African National Biodiversity Institute


Domitilla Raimondo is the Threatened Species Programme Manager at the South African National Biodiversity Institute. She is responsible for the species assessments for South Africa’s National Biodiversity Assessment. Domitilla has extensive experience assessing the threat status for South Africa’s animal and plant species, is the lead author of the “Red List of South African Plants” (2009) and has coordinated the Red List assessments for many animal groups. She is dedicated to ensuring that species information feeds into land use decision making. Domitilla is also involved in species conservation work internationally and Chairs the IUCN Species Survival Commissions’ Plant Conservation Committee. She is passionate about mainstreaming species information into development work and works across Africa to ensure technical transfer and capacity development takes place to mobilise biodiversity information needed to inform decision making.

Suvarna Parbhoo leads the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) citizen science programme in South Africa and is interested in expanding the citizen science network and partnerships. Currently, she is co-Chairs the IUCN Species Survival Commission southern African Plant Specialist Group for the 2021-2024 quadrennium and chairs the Botanical Society KZN Coastal Branch since 2017. She also assists with setting up the iNaturalist southern African citizen science community on behalf of SANBI.


National Plant monitoring programme celebrates 20 years of inclusive citizen science participation

South Africa boasts three globally recognized biodiversity hotspots each hosting exceptional species richness – approximately 21,000 plant species, 60% of which are endemic. South Africa has received consistent investment in plant taxonomic research. In 2002, a comprehensive assessment of the threat status of its flora indicated that despite the high record of species documented, there was a lack of data required to accurately assess the rate of extinction of the flora. In response, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Botanical Society of South Africa partnered to establish a dedicated citizen science initiative, the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) programme, to train non-specialists to gather information on range restricted endemic and threatened species. The CREW programme provides an authentic set of objectives and has a variety of benefits for the citizen scientist – access to protected and undisturbed natural areas, plant collecting permits, plant identification workshops, scientific material and publications. CREW is probably the only citizen science programme globally that informs national resource governance by contributing to national plant conservation strategy targets, providing data to the national Red List of plants dataset, mainstreaming data into decision making, as well as conducting in situ and ex situ conservation practices. The programme supports Biodiversity Stewardship with site assessments and ongoing site surveys in both private and communal owned land. We collaborate with a host of partners to encourage the sustainable use of plants with focus on the medicinal plant trade and illegal trade of succulent species. Just before the pandemic, our data collection migrated from paper format to digital, using the iNaturalist application. This has allowed us to streamline our data management system as well as attract citizen scientists who observe threatened species in areas where we have not worked in. The migration was not an easy changeover for our mostly retired citizen scientists though we do host regular tutorials and have produced how-to videos to guide the process. Also, data has become the most valuable resource globally yet is still at a high cost in South Africa, making connectivity, especially but not limited to rural areas, a challenge for citizen
scientists. We have tested a few options have but not yet overcome this challenge.There is much discussion nationally about citizen scientists receiving a stipend for the hours contributed, we occasionally contribute to mileage costs for selected fieldtrips and provide 2-annual 3-day lesson-exchange workshops at no cost to our citizen scientists. As we celebrate our 20 th year, the CREW Programme maintains its identity and it will continue to be a mirror of the passionate people we are connected to as we monitor South Africa’s plants. CREW has made citizen science, and particularly, citizen botany, a reality for so many people and with so many direct benefits to the field of botany.