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Education and training at the Israel Center for Citizen Science

Yaela Golumbic
Jan. 31, 2024, 10:53 a.m.

Citizen science in Israel has been growing slowly yet steadily, over the past years. Yet, projects generally operate independently of one another, needing to build their own expertise, infrastructure and public support systems. This situation restricts the sharing of knowledge, limits the efficient allocation of resources, and ultimately prevents projects from reaching their full potential. This is why the Israel Center for Citizen Science was established.

Yaela Golumbic works at the Israel Center for Citizen Science – The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University

Examples of activities

A few examples of the activities the centre is involved with — first and foremost, we are developing a citizen science platform for both creating new projects and aggregating data from existing projects. This platform ensures all citizen science data collected in Israel will be openly available, searchable, usable and contribute to global databases. 

We conduct courses, workshops and training on citizen science. Most notably a full academic course on citizen science, which I have delivered early this year — open and free to students from all academic institutions in Israel and for people from industry, environmental organisations and education systems.  

We produce manuals and reports, using science communication best practices to share scientific data, and our materials are all multi-lingual — Hebrew and Arabic, to widen our reach and ensure inclusive practices. 

Opportunities and challenges

As presented, our centre has many strengths and assets. Additionally, as we are based in the natural history museum, our centre benefits from the vast experience of our professionals in public engagement, education, and taxonomic and biodiversity research. We form collaborations — internally, externally and internationally, to help us meet our goals and continue growing.

Of course, this is not without challenges. Working with diverse stakeholders — researchers, nature protection organisations, municipalities, educators, forms a unique set of challenges and demands a gentle balance to ensure the needs of all groups are considered and maintained. 

While we are still a centre in-development, we aim high. Reaching our goals means we have to scale up, and fast. Providing support not to a select few projects, but meeting the demands of several projects simultaneously.

Additional challenges we are working to resolve are the design of a user-friendly experience for our stakeholders overtime, ensuring their retention and ongoing commitment, In addition to internal struggles mainstreaming the idea of open science and FAIR data.

About the centre

The Israel Center for citizen science at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History was established in early 2022, to support public participation in environmental research and promote participatory biodiversity science and conservation. We were supposed to have our official launch on Nov 22nd 2023. However, this has been delayed due to terrorist attacks inflicted upon our country and the consequent ongoing war.

Yet our work is continuing, promoting the values the centre has been established upon — inclusion, openness and mutual respect. Fostering the advancement of citizen science, nationally. Providing support to scientists and grassroot organisations alike and promoting knowledge, enjoyment and inspiration from nature. 

The Israel Center for citizen science was built to bridge this gap. It is based on three pillars — technological, scientific, and social, providing support and services that will extend and sustain citizen science.  


I hope I have given you a glimpse of the work we are undergoing in the Israel Center for citizen science. We pray for peaceful and better days and hope to resume our ongoing work caring for the environment and for the people who live within.

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