Implementing Citizen Science to explore grassland ecology

Duration of the project

01.02.2021. - 30.06.2021.

Countries and institutions involved in the project

University of Tartu
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Project Manager

Dr. Tsipe Aavik

Achieved aim(s) of the project

The overall aim of the collaboration project was to successfully carry out a joint international citizen science campaign “Looking for Cowslips” involving Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Sweden. Over the course of time, the campaign was eventually carried out throughout Europe and involved thousands of people from nearly 30 European countries. Thus, the aims of the project were achieved, and even with a wider impact than was initially planned.

Main activities and venues

(1) Preparation and adaptation of the campaign materials
in German language

(2) Communication and advertisement of the citizen science

(3) The pan-European citizen science campaign “Looking for
Cowslips”, which took place at the time of cowslip flowering (mainly May and June 2021).

(4) Providing feedback to the citizen scientists about the first conclusions of the campaign in the second part of June 2021 via Social Media, different news channels and email to those observers who had agreed on receiving feedback.

Direct and indirect target group


  • Citizen scientists, who carried out cowslip observations (including schools and kindergartens and other educational institutions). From all over Europe, data from nearly 3500 locations was obtained. Considering that people usually did the observation with some company, the number of observers could be doubled to at least 7000 citizen scientists.
  • Graduate and undergraduate students as well as young researchers, who gained valuable experience in science communication by preparing materials for media and social media, and giving interviews. The number of students and researchers involved in Estonia was about 5. However, from other European countries, several PhD students and young researchers helped to coordinate the project.



  • Teachers, students (from university level), pupils and kindergarten kids who took part in numerous seminars and talks (not all have been mentioned above, e.g. Baltic Sea Project network seminar, Eco-Schools seminar for teachers, University of Tartu Youth Academy virtual lecture etc) given within the frames of the campaign in spring 2021. The estimated number of youth and teachers indirectly involved in the project is according to our estimates is at least 2000.
  • In total, a collaboration with 12 environmental nongovernmental organizations from all across Europe was obtained, who spread information about the campaign in their social networks as well as in mainstream media and blog posts.
  • People following media and campaign-related social media platforms on daily basis. Throughout Europe, at least 70 campaign-related media events (in the form of interviews, newspaper articles, TV broadcasts and press releases) took place, which reached thousands of people. The campaign Facebook site has about 1900 regular followers, campaign Twitter account is currently followed by 136 followers, Instagram site has 129 followers. In addition, at the peak of the campaign, we advertised the campaign more actively in Facebook and according to the Facebook statistics, campaign-related information reached to hundreds of thousands of people.