Best practice prize goes to “Tracking Plastic Rubbish” Project

21th October 2015

The Citizens’ Science Platform “Citizens create Science” has chosen scientists, teachers as well as students involved in the project “Tracking Plastic Rubbish” as its Research Team of 2015. The award which is endowed with 3000€ is presented annually to exemplary initiatives.

“Tracking Plastic Rubbish” is a citizens’ project under the auspices of the Kiel Research Workshop and the IPN. Together with their teachers and marine scientists, German and Chilean students gathered research data and actively supported endeavours to avoid using the ocean for rubbish disposal purposes.

By “Citizens create Science” it was especially the international approach that convinced the jury of the uniqueness of the project in which intercultural and scientific competencies are imparted. The project makes clear that global problems such as ocean pollution can only be solved by international cooperation.

This year around 450 students, aged between ten and fifteen, carried out research together with 20 teachers in Germany and Chile. Their focus was on plastic rubbish found on beaches. Where do you find the largest occurrence of plastic rubbish around German and Chilean coastal regions? What is the rubbish comprised of? Where does the rubbish come from? These and other research questions were answered in the framework of an international network between students, teachers and scientists. In the course of the project students applied scientific methods such as data gathering, they also took samples and entered their findings on the webpage The German- Chilean student groups communicated virtually with each other to exchange their experiences and discuss solutions.

In Spring 2016, German and Chilean students will once again go tracking together, because the projects „Tracking plastic rubbish“ will spill over to Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The focus during this phase of the project will be to survey and then compare the entire German and Chilean coastline.

This project enables students to experience how social engagement and learning fuse when working on current social and scientific topics. The exchange with Chilean students certainly opens a new perspective, which is not possible in normal everyday school life. Professor Ilka Parchmann, vice-president of Kiel University and also responsible for teaching, knowledge transfer and further education, congratulated Katrin Kruse and her team for the terrific project.

Citizens create Science is the main platform for Citizen Science in Germany. It offers an overview of Citizen Science projects and, as a result, puts citizens’ science groups in the public eye.

For further information, contact: Katrin Kruse, Kieler Forschungswerkstatt, Telefon 0431-880-5914