Reversing the 6th mass extinction of species that is accelerated by rapidly changing climates has to rely on widespread participation in place-based actions for regenerative sustainability across all sectors of society.  Achieving such regenerative collaboration on publicly and privately owned land, and across differences in interests and expertise, will require deep changes in how we look at, think of and relate to each other and the ecological systems we are a part of.  Fundamental changes in prevailing practices, values, orientations, and at the bottom of it all, our knowledge system itself will be part and parcel of such a transformation. 

Our citizen science approaches such as the WaterLinx offer an entry point to a systemic view on human-environment-technology interactions, experiential learning opportunities, and spaces for reflection. They can direct our attention n and thereby also our personal and collective resources by guiding observations on the state of health of our ecosystems, on what ecosystems can offer us for our health and well-being, and on influences of humans and technology upon them. We co-design citizen science approaches as spaces for collaboration and joint meaning-making as basis for concerted action by diverse stakeholder groups, including water managers, environmental activists, scientific experts, schoolteachers and students, and citizen volunteers.

For the WaterLinx APP, the data structure and questions that guide observations have been developed in a collaborative process with representatives from all these stakeholder groups.  All these groups have expressed interest in using the data that is collected with the WaterLinx APP for different purposes including learning and teaching about water quality and the health of aquatic ecosystems and merits and limitations environmental science; to gain indications of pollution hotspots or factors hindering species migration of aquatic organisms along water courses; to suggest at which places river restoration should be considered a priority; and to complement official data on water quality along large rivers with data on small water bodies.  All these uses of the data will require some redundancy and a high level of use with many users, such that an adequate data quality can be achiebeved.   So please join-in and let’s start.

For more details on potential uses of citizen science in general, and on water quality in particular, please consult our publications:

Can citizen science meaningfully complement official data on water quality collected by public authorities?

König, A., Pickar, K., Stankiewicz, J. & Hondrila, K. (2021). Can citizen science complement official data sources that serve as evidence-base for policies and practice to improve water quality? Statistical Journal of the IAOS, DOI: 10.3233/SJI-200737

What are the main issues relating to data quality from citizen science compared to official data produced in the context of regulation and policy making?

Stankiewicz, J, König, A, Pickar, K and Weiss, S. 2023. How Certain is Good Enough? Managing Data Quality and Uncertainty in Ordinal Citizen Science Data Sets for Evidence-Based Policies on Fresh Water. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, 8(1): 39, pp. 1–15.   DOI:   

How can we think about purposes for citizen science in relation to decisions with high stakes, with values in dispute, in a world with high levels of uncertainty?

Mordechai Haklay, Ariane König, Fabien Moustard, Nicolle Aspee, 2023. Citizen science and Post-Normal Science’s extended peer community: Identifying overlaps by mapping typologies, Futures, 150: 103178,

For insights into our fundamental assumptions on transformative and experiential learning: