Open the Book of Nature

Citizen science for phenology and seasonality research

The communication project «Open the Book of Nature» creates a stage for interaction between scientists and citizens in order to raise awareness and understanding of the impacts of climate and environmental change in Switzerland. The website «Book-of-Nature» will involve the public through participation and discussion. Applying a «Citizen science» approach to climate change impacts, the audience will collect field observations and photographs in four Chapters (plants, animals, landscapes, climate) and scientists in return provide observation guidelines and scientific information to the public.

The project «Open the Book of Nature» will raise awareness by

  • animating persons with little access to science to explore their environment with simple methods
  • educating these persons about impacts of climate and environmental change in Switzerland
  • engaging these persons in discussions and making them part of a scientific process that involves leading Swiss scientists and leading Swiss research institutions.

The project «Open the Book of Nature» will deliver

  1. a collaboration concept to assure widely-supported features, technical compatibility
  2. a website «Book-of-Nature» including a content management system with efficient editorial information handling
  3. a social media site for presenting information and fostering discussions

The project is structured in three annual time slices: to develop the final concept and naming and coordinate with existing national and international programs (year 1), prototyping phase with implementation phase and internal testing phase (year 2), and public launch with evaluation and testing phase (year 3).

In this project a well-established network of climate change researchers is supported by communication experts in print and Web-content journalism, as well as by internet graphic and technical designers. «Open the Book of Nature» builds on strong existing partnerships in Switzerland under the auspices of the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences SCNAT and the Federal Department of Environment (FOEN).

Project team:

Dr. This Rutishauser, Prof. Dr. Stefan Brönnimann, PD Dr. Werner Eugster, Prof. Dr. Martine Rebetez