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crowd-funding

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learning about living things

If you were up at the crack of dawn and watching early morning Sunday television, you might have seen the molluscs and me on the BBC 1 Breakfast Show. See the video here. It was a lovely gentle summer day when Helier Cheung from BBC World Service came to film and I talked to her about my crowd-funding campaign due to be launched on 22 September. Unfortunately that section got lost in the editing but you can read all about it and watch the video here.

mini snail farm

I think it is so important for children to learn about living things that I want to do what I can to encourage schools. If we can raise enough funds we want to give 50 mini snail farms to schools in areas where the children may not have the opportunity to play outside or bring living things into school.Commissioning teaching materials to go with the mini snail farms will be next on the agenda. But it all depends on getting the funds in and in turn that depends on all of you reading this blog.

Some people are organising fund-raising events for us, sponsored walks or coffee mornings or whatever you want to do really. But all donations are welcome; at this stage cheques payable to H&RH Escargots please and send to 18 St Vincents Close, Littlebourne, Canterbury Kent CT3 1TZ. After 22 September payments go through Indiegogo. Please pass on the message to all your friends, especially those who care about education. Thank you very much for your support.

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Are you a Citizen Scientist?

“I’m finding these snails absolutely fascinating,” he said and laughed. “You’ll probably think I’m very odd but I’ve bought a notebook and I sit and watch them for hours and write down what they do.”  John had bought a mini snail farm from me and was on the phone a few weeks later.

“You’re a Citizen Scientist.” I said. That’s an ordinary person who takes part in scientific research. If you’ve made a note of the birds visiting your garden each year and sent it off to Garden Birdwatch, which thousands of people do, then you’re a Citizen Scientist too. Do you keep an eye on the activities of the local hedgehogs or foxes? Do you notice when ash trees nearby start to succumb to dieback. This sort of informal recording is absolutely vital - we are all the eyes and ears of professional scientists who rely on us collecting this data because they can’t be everywhere.

Citizen science is an example of crowd-sourcing – engaging lots of ordinary people in an activity. Crowd-funding is another example. On Wednesday Crista Cloutier (www.theworkingartist.com) gave a talk at UCF about her use of crowd-funding to get financial support for her project. She used indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com) as her platform but kickstarter is another.

In the world, of book publishing Unbound (http://unbound.co.uk/authors) is a company that uses crowd-funding. You have to pitch your book idea and they post it onto their website to see if readers think this book is worth publishing. You get your book published if you get enough support. Give it a go! Get involved!

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