Top Citizen Science Kids – Behind the News

The Anas superciliosa is the most recognisable duck
in Australia. Its plumage features
shades of light brown with an unmistakable glossy green
near the wings. Hey, what’s an Anas
super…whatever? JACK: (SIGHS) It’s the scientific
name of a Pacific black duck. (CLEARS THROAT)
OK. The female, lighter…
Wait. Why are you speaking like that? I’m rehearsing to be
a citizen scientist! Rehearsing?
I don’t think that’s how it works. The female, lighter in colour… OK, so there might be a bit more
to being a citizen scientist than a silly accent. It’s when ordinary people
do experiments or research to help scientists learn more
about the world around us, and pretty much anyone
can be one, including kids. That is Gallinula tenebrosa,
a dusky moorhen. Meet Griffin. He’s only eight, but he’s already one of Australia’s
top citizen scientists. See that yellow tip on the beak? That is a dead giveaway. He spends most of his free time looking for unusual plants
and animal species. And if he spots something,
he snaps a pic and uploads it
to a special science app. The app then classifies the find, tells him the scientific name
of the species and gives him points
for each new find. I take pictures of an animal
or plant or an organism that isn’t domestic, and then you put
the species’ name in, and then experts sort of like
identify it and you can earn gold. Well, not real gold. The app is called QuestaGame and
Griffin’s not the only kid into it. I’ve been playing QuestaGame
for about one and a half years. Meet Austin, he’s ten, and is currently the number one
bird spotter in the country. When I started playing QuestaGame I started finding new species
of different animals and I wanted to make my species
on the QuestaGame, being first or second
in the leader board. In fact, recently Austin beat thousands of other
citizen scientists – mostly adults – to win the first-ever
World BioQuest Competition. But it’s not just a game,
the info that these guys and the thousands of users collect
is used by scientists to work out where some species can be found
and can even lead to new discoveries. A young player discovered
a black-faced monarch bird that was not in a region at all
where it was expected to be and it’s a sighting like that that gives us new knowledge about
the distribution of species. I’ve recently discovered
a new species just by looking at the data
uploaded online Austin and Griffin reckon the app is
a great way to get outdoors and learn more about nature and they’d love to see more kids
getting involved. It would be good to have more people
that are very interested in animals. GRIFFIN: If you want to be
a scientist, you can get a head start. So, who knows what
ground-breaking discoveries young citizen scientists
could make in the future.