CRESCO Citizen Rescuers for Collections


from 15/06/2023 until 15/12/2023

Project CRESCO Citizen Rescuers for Collections aims to engage a broad audience in the valorization of the biological collections of the Institute of Natural Sciences and the AfricaMuseum through virtual projects and physical onsite Citizen Science digitization and collection management actions. Citizens help preserve biology collections by contributing to research, from home or inside the museum. They do that by transcribing and annotating labels of insects, by preparing wood samples or by cleaning and photographing bird specimens.


Citizens who prefer using machines and technology, can join the tree squad in the AfricaMuseum. Researcher Ruben De Blaere needs help to digitize the Tervuren wood collection and develop state-of-the-art wood identification techniques. Citizens prepare samples with the help of a polishing grinder and provide annotations of different visible tissues using image segmentation. The digitization of wood samples contributes to the protection and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, as well as the sustainable management of forests which can aid in halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss. Illegal logging has been a persistent problem for many years and to combat this issue, fast and reliable wood identification tools are needed.  

Those who would rather be more hands-on, can join Annelore Nackaerts, collection manager, and Larissa Smirnova, research assistant, inside the bird collections of the AfricaMuseum. They are currently cleaning and digitizing the bird collection, but thousands of samples are still waiting to be taken good care of. Citizens help with cleaning, photographing, updating databases and transcribing labels. In this way, they contribute to making the collections better known to researchers worldwide and to encouraging future research. 

Citizens also volunteer online on the platform DoeDat, developped by the Botanic Garden Meise, from the comfort of their own home! Wouter Dekoninck, Entomology collection curator at the Institute of Natural Sciences, needs help to transcribe the labels of the mites in the Cooreman collection, which is part of one of the most complete mite collections worldwide. Citizens transcribe data on their locality and how and on which host they were collected, which is crucial knowledge in health issues. Indeed, many species are of medical importance as host or vector of parasites for humans.  

About funding

Funding bodies: European Union

About branding

Profile image design by: AfricaMuseum

Created Oct. 11, 2023, 12:47 p.m.

Updated Nov. 20, 2023, 2:09 p.m.

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