iSpot: your place to share nature - celebrating 12 years for 12 months

iSpot: your place to share nature - celebrating 12 years for 12 months - Global :

June 27, 2021 will mark the 12th anniversary of the launch of iSpot: your place to share nature, the Open University's (OU) citizen science platform for biodiversity. We want to celebrate this and will be marking this significant milestone over the next 12 months - 12 years for 12 months - including a wide range of activities acknowledging what you the community have contributed and helped us build over the years. While reflecting on the past we will be sharing plans, new developments and projects; as well as gather user input as we chart the next phase for iSpot acting as a tool for biological recording, building species ID skills and learning about biodiversity.

Importantly, we are kickstarting iSpot’s 12 years for 12 months around the timeline of #WorldEnvironmentDay which puts a global spotlight of the state of our ecosystems launching a decade of efforts focused on restoring ecosystems. We have ten years to act #GenerationRestoration: how can iSpotnature help us to Reimagine. Recreate. Restore?  Thinking about this for World Environment Day we asked you to share your views and we also recently set up the project Observations from Restoration Sites: you can use the tag `Restoration` to add observations from restoration sites that you visit; include a brief description of your observation, why your observations are from a restored area, with a short history of the site.

iSpot: 12 years for 12 months

Here are a few highlights of what we have started and what you can look forward to as part of iSpot’s 12-year anniversary celebrations over the coming months:

  • iSpot data snapshots: so what have you contributed to over the past 12 years? We are doing data analysis of contributions over the years and will be sharing highlights from this including key milestones.
  • Unique / interesting / memorable observations: one of iSpot’s memorable posts was the Euonymus leaf notcher in October 2009. But what are yours? Some of you already share and discuss  these in iSpot Projects and Forums. We recently developed a project collating this and you can also tag your own memorable observations '[email protected]' adding them to the [email protected] highlights project.
  • iSpot website updates: the website is undergoing behind the scenes updates to make it more robust for the future and alongside this we are refreshing its look to make it more user friendly (particularly for new participants) - this will be shared soon!
  • New funding developments: We have had some success with funding bids and the iSpot team are collaborating on a number of new projects which will see innovative developments to the platform, as well as new engagement activities you can get involved in.
  • Collating and sharing iSpot stories: Thanks for those who have shared their views over the years (i.e. iSpot comments, Forums, emails) we have been going through collating ideas, suggestions and user stories. We want to gather even more feedback over the coming months and will also inviting volunteers to write their own stories to share. Look out for these opportunities!

That’s the brief update for now, as noted there is much more to come. But most importantly we want to say a big THANKS to YOU the community for supporting iSpot over the years, without your use of the site, posting your contributions and helping each other in the identification of wildlife; sharing your views etc; we would not be where we are today!


Senior Project Manager – Citizen Science / iSpot Project Manager

The Open University

05 Jun 2021
Janice A