Drawing up how we all, from students, to shop keepers, to politicians, to nerds and hikers, can help in science, to cover unknown terrain, do research, observe and better everything from the hiking trails to the pulse of active people, to the pulse of the planet… and even help create new understandings of the universe

Citizen science, co-creation and hiking

Text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Hikers are just one of the groups who are getting active, not only walking, but also in collecting, organizing and researching data about the environment, health and other areas. It is a co-creation process that can both help secure biodiversity and help us create better paths and understandings

There is a number of websites where hikers and citizen scientists both can join and put up new projects. And where researchers and scientists also can share and create Citizen science projects:

Global Citizen science project platforms:




Citizen science and hiking projects:


Drawing up co-creation, hiking and Citizen Science

Collection of drawings here on Hiking.org to better understand, share and show what citizen science is and how citizen science can be seen:

See the Hiking.org collection of citizen science drawings

Hiker looking at trail damage by invasive species along trail ( japanese knotweed) Hiking Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Trails to help biodiversity

Hiking can help us face invasive species in new and better ways

Illustration of a hiker scientist taking a GPS photo of an invasive species in action. Environment scientific Science drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

Hikers can help observe invasive species

Hikers can help monitor, photograph and share data about invasive species of both animals and plants

Drawing of a hiker with a binoculars, taking notes of birds. Citizen Science illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Helping monitor birds while hiking

The birds of our planet are endangered – we’ve lost more than 1.5 billion birds in resent times – Hikers can help monitor both where the birds are and how well they are thriving in habitats and along migration routes

Drawing of a scientist in rowboat with lots of space for more, people on land asking him if he needs a hand. Citizen Science illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Giving a hand to science

drawing of people who want to help scientist alone in his research boat under difficult circumstances

Hikers taking samples

Drawing of hikers taking samples and doing scientific work while hiking

Drawing of girl with a star in her hand looking at different options to classify it, while two others participate. Citizen Science illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Organizing scientific data

When not hiking people can make a huge difference by helping sorting data about the trails, habitats and even helping science learn more about the stars above

Drawing of a man on one side watching tv and on the other side doing science. Citizen Science illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Citizen science from passive to active

drawing of a man watching TV about science vs exploring

Drawing of two hikers watching a stream where pollution has killed birds and fish. documenting it. Citizen Science illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Hikers documenting pollution

Hikers can help monitor and create map about how well the environment is doing

Drawing of people working with wild birds, ringing and monitoring them. drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

Where to report a ringed bird

Hikers sometimes come across dead birds that has been ring marked. Here hikers can help the mapping of local and global bird populations by documenting their findings on Ringbase.org

Illustration of hands holding a phone with a biodiversity game app on it. Citizen Science drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

Biodiversity game app

Inspired by games like Pokemon Go, new apps are entering the world, where the real magical creatures of the planet are the main characters

Drawing of a search chain of people beside a line of people following the leader or expert. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Search chain vs line

Two very different ways of moving through a landscape and strategies to gain new understandings

Drawing of two young people with backpacks. They are having two puzzle pieces putting letters together that form the word "facts" Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Facts of a bigger picture

We will often be able to gain better understandings from more perspectives when sharing our knowledge

Drawing of a scientist fishing with a magnifying glass. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

The science angler

Heading out in the landscapes to catch facts and do research

Drawing of a hiker crossing the motivation gap from today to where she wants to be tomorrow. Psychology illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Motivation gap

Drawing up the gap between and factors influencing what we want to do, and if we actually make the jump and walk the talk

Drawing of people working with press and media. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Talking to the press

Drawing up how more and more hiking projects also becomes media projects – getting funding, making videos and sharing updates to get funding or attention

Drawing of a lone scientist on a small island, beeing dragged by a ship towards land. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Scientist island

Drawing of a scientist alone on his island being towed to a better place to re-connect with others

Drawing of a city with citizen science written over several buildings and people talking. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Cityzen Science

Can we design places along the trails that are more open and better support innovation, debate and science

Drawing of hiker documenting deforestation and sending data to people who organize new forest planting. Biodiversity drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

hikers helping reforestation

Hikers can help document deforestation and planting new trees and forests

Drawing of a tractor and factories making a mouth of black smoke, farmer thinking "what can I do?" Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Helping farmers help the environment

Hikers can help support and document ways and knowledge of how farmers can help the environment

Drawing of a girl and a dead bird. first she is feeling sad, second she is sharing on social media, third image she is engaged in collecting, sharing and saving the species. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

From sad smiley to engagement

Using new technology hikers can move from not only being concerned about the environment to actually help innovate new solutions and knowledge of how our planet is doing

Drawing of planet Earth with people working in groups around it to innovate, collect and share understandings. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Building global networks of knowledge

We live in a special time where it is possible, using technology, to build new collective landscapes of understanding

Drawing of a hiker with a phone, collecting data about whales along the coast. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Whale watching while hiking

Hikers walking coast trails can sometimes not only see whales but also help science, by documenting where they see them

Drawing of a car with a net attached to catch and research insects. Citizen Science illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Citizen science insect projects

Cars driving around with huge nets on their roofs help document and collect new knowledge about local insects

Drawing of people taking test along the shore and in sea. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Walkers and volunteers collecting water samples

Walking along the coastline can be combined with collecting important data and samples and sharing it with scientists

Drawing of a scientist thinking in data, a citizen thinking empathy to a flooded person and planet Earth thinking a heart. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Science, citizen and planet mindset

New knowledge focus on how there are huge differences between how scientists, engaged citizens and maybe even the planet thinks

Drawing of a landscape with people and nature with all details having projects attached to them. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Connecting to Citizen Science projects

The amount of citizen science projects that hikers and walkers can connect to and help in are growing

Drawing of group of people with scientists sitting together innovating in "science jam session", hiker included. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Science jam session

Science is often seen as a top down lecture activity, but hiking together and debating, seeing and meeting different point of views around a campfire is a better way to innovate

Drawing of a scientist as a music conductor. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Scientist as conductor drawing

Drawing of a classic way to see science, as the knowing expert with the overview and plan, creating knowledge and understanding is maybe a bit like the conductor creates music experiences together with musicians

Working with groups vs individuals

Some projects and trails are created by volunteers working together, others are placed in the hands of organisations where members work together

Keywords: citizen science, citizenscience, co-creation, landscapes of understanding, landscapesofunderstanding, participatory design, innovation