Citizen Science

One of the cornerstones of Friends of the River Rib is the promotion and use of citizen science projects to build a picture of the Rib valley’s biodiversity and environment, whilst also contributing to national projects. Citizen science has a long history in the UK and many scientific insights have resulted over the decades.

Projects cover most aspects of natural history observation; some require no specific skills or abilities whilst others require some training. All, however make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the natural world and the challenges it faces.

If you are already contributing to a project or if there is project that we haven’t listed, do let us know. It would be great to build up a picture of who is out there and what they are up to in and close to the Rib Valley and receive some ‘stories from the field’.
Or, if you find something of interest from the list below and take up the challenge of a citizen science project we would equally love to hear your story and the results of your observations as they start to come in.

The Riverfly Partnership is a dynamic network of organisations, representing anglers, conservationists, entomologists, scientists, water course managers and relevant authorities, working together to:
– protect the water quality of our rivers;
– further the understanding of riverfly populations; 
– and conserve riverfly habitats.  
The Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) is a bottom up citizen science initiative that facilitates regular monitoring of river water quality by trained volunteer monitors at river sites across the UK, to complement the more detailed work carried out by the UK environment agencies i.e the Environment Agency (EA) in England, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Natural Resources Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. 
Trained monitors regularly visit freshwater sites across the UK to sample for our target 8 invertebrate groups. A scoring system based on the invertebrate quantities allows any major pollution events to be detected, and reported to local environmental body contacts quickly. 
The Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) hosts The Riverfly Partnership on behalf of the Partners as part of the FBAs active engagement in the management and conservation of the aquatic environment. 
Friends of the River Rib is a registered organisation with the Riverfly Partnership and will act as co-ordinator for ARMI surveys on the River Rib. If you are interested in participating in this project on the River Rib, find out more on the Riverfly partnership website and drop us an email at
UK Butterfly SurveysButterflies and moths are extremely valuable indicators of the state of the environment. Butterfly Conservation runs schemes to record and monitor them which involve over 18,000 volunteer recorders.
The data gathered in our world-renowned schemes is used by the Government to indicate the health of the environment at national, UK and European levels.
The ongoing recording and monitoring programmes help us direct our conservation effort where it is needed. It also helps us assess how effective current conservation work is.
Anyone can take part, from beginners to experienced recorders. Visit Butterfly Conservation’s Recording and Monitoring page to find out more about a range of projects available and let us know at Friends of the River Rib your species lists for observations from the valley.
RSPB Garden BirdwatchNow 40 years old, this is the largest wildlife survey with roughly half a million people regularly taking part each January. The 2019 survey results can be found here and if you don’t take part already, make sure you do next January!
BTO Breeding
Bird Survey
BBS monitors the population changes of 117 breeding bird species across the UK thanks to the dedication of almost 3,000 volunteers who survey their randomly selected 1-km square each spring.
The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is one of the main schemes for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common and widespread breeding birds, producing population trends for 117 bird and nine mammal species. The survey involves a recce visit and two early-morning spring visits to an allocated 1-km square, to count all the birds you see or hear while walking two 1-km lines across the square and record any nest counts for colonial nesting birds in the square. You can optionally record mammals and visit your square later in the season to survey for butterflies. There is the option to return data on paper, via field recording forms or to submit your data on BBS-Online.
For details of other projects run by the British Trust for Ornithology, visit
Herts Bird ClubHerts Bird Club promotes the study and recording of birds in Hertfordshire and encourages a wider interest in natural history including the conservation of wildlife habitats.The Herts Bird Club, set up in 1971, grew from the Ornithological section of the Herts Natural History Society. The Society, established in 1875, has always had a strong focus on birds, the first Report on the Birds of Hertfordshire was published in 1878 and has been published (almost) annually ever since.
Their website also contains an the The Herts Bird Atlas – an invaluable resource of bird mapping and comparison data, allowing the exploration of bird species in each of the tetrads along the Rib Valley 
Bat Conservation TrustBat numbers in the UK have declined dramatically over the last century. You can help to monitor the UK’s bats by taking part in surveys and observing these fascinating mammals in your local area. By monitoring bats we can discover the factors that are important for their survival. Ultimately our monitoring programme give us, and government, the information needed to make bat conservation work.
Anyone can take part, from beginners to experts. So find a survey to suit you, sign up today and enjoy being part of the National Bat Monitoring Programme volunteer team.
Mammal MapperWhat is Mammal Mapper?
Mammal Mapper is a FREE app recently launched by the Mammal Society that has been designed to enable you to record signs and sightings of mammals in the UK. Mammals can be recorded along a route whilst you’re walking/running/cycling or even a passenger in a car, or as one off sightings, for example a hedgehog in your garden.  For further information, click here