Combining educational outreach with hypothesis driven research is Joey Hulbert’s goal with Cape Citizen Science - an initiative designed to engage the public in a research project about plant disease in the fynbos biome of the Western Cape. Early in November, Joey organised a sampling activity at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (NBG) and invited a group of homeschool students to participate as citizen scientists.

Joey is interested in surveying the Phytophthora species present in the fynbos for his PhD project and managers at the Kirstenbosch NBG had reported the presence of this pathogen in their Protea garden. During the activity, each citizen scientist collected samples of dying plants while learning about microorganisms as causal agents of disease. Joey enjoys the public engagement component of Cape Citizen Science, but he is excited to see their contributions grow into valuable data as he isolates Phytophthora from the samples they collected.

More information and pictures from the activity can be found on the projects blog: