Since 2004, with the launch of the Phénoclim participatory science programme, CREA Mont-Blanc has been opening the doors to scientific research by leading an active community of observers of life. Each year, nearly a thousand participants follow their trees in mountain areas in France and in cross-border regions. Thanks to this massive mobilisation, scientific research is moving forward!
Over the years, new participatory science programmes have been devised in addition to Phénoclim in order to increase our knowledge and contribute together to a better understanding of the functioning of high altitude ecosystems. Participants from a variety of backgrounds join research teams to observe the changes taking place, following simple data collection protocols.
We have designed SPOT, the platform for Participatory Sciences in the mountains Open to All, to reflect your expectations, with different levels of involvement and participation:
- observation protocols to be in contact with nature,
- immersive activities that mobilise the senses to focus attention on oneself and one's environment in the present moment,
- digital "virtual nature" experiences to keep the link with the living,
- exchanges with the community through a forum and mutual aid methods such as covalidation.
Scientific literature proves that people with a strong connection to nature are more likely to fight climate change and biodiversity loss. They are also happier and healthier! There are many reasons why you might want to participate: the desire to take part in a useful action, curiosity, interest in exchanging with researchers or other observers, development of skills, change of scenery and immersion..
For you, it's an hour devoted from time to time to a visit to an observation spot, a day in the field in search of a specific species or ten minutes behind the screen on your return from a walk to report your encounter with a wild animal. For us, it is a valuable contribution that feeds our research throughout the year.
To start contributing, simply create your account on the platform and choose the programme that suits you - without limitation! Depending on your geographical location, the time of year and your wishes, there are many spots available to you.
Do you have a particular interest in a species? Are you a loner or do you like group outings? Do you prefer to go on your own or be accompanied? Would you like to participate but can't make it to the field today?
Whether before an outing, during a walk accompanied by mountain professionals or with the family at the bend of a path during the picnic break, you can take this "side step" to discover the ecosystem that surrounds you and of which we are all an integral part.
Are you afraid of making a mistake? Don't worry, we have a data validation process in place to ensure the reliability and robustness of the data. In total, we use about ten different mechanisms to check the reliability of the data (automatic filtering, expert validation, etc.). Simple protocols guide you step by step, so that your observations can be used in the same way as those made by our teams of ecology researchers.
With SPOT, we hope to contribute to the renewal of the way we look at the mountains, individually and collectively, but also at the place of nature in the construction of our identities and societies.
This evolution of practices is also the subject of scientific research, in conjunction with experts in the Human and Social Sciences. The practice of naturalist observations is a new way of living in a territory for its inhabitants and visitors, which aims to restore to our mountains their scientific and sensitive appeal, and not only their sporting appeal. With SPOT, you go on a useful trip, whether you live locally or come from afar.
This platform has been developed within the framework of the TourScience Plus project thanks to the support of the European funds ERDF-Alcotra on the 2014-2020 programming.