© NUP Steirische Eisenwurzen
Institution: Natur- und Geopark Steierische Eisenwurzen
Project lead: Martin Gebeshuber
Markt 35
8933 St. Gallen
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C.S.I. PhänoBiota

Research with new plant aarivals from all over the world

DURATION: 01.05.2020 - 30.04.2023

In a first-of-its-kind approach in Europe, pupils in the district of Liezen are researching and documenting the phenological development of invasive neophytes under the influence of climate change. With the help of experts, they develop and test modern, multilingual field research instruments and educational tools, thus laying the foundation for a long-term, nationwide Citizen Science network. The observations are used to make neophyte management in the region more efficient, supported by phenological information. The project results thus not only have educational value, but also tangible ecological benefits.

What is happening in the project or has already happened?

In C.S.I. PhenoBiota, kindergarten children and pupils from all school levels in the Liezen district explore the exciting phenological world of neophytes together and at eye level with scientists. Equipped with comprehensive, age-appropriate research tools, they observe and document the phenological phases of selected plant species throughout the year, relate them to the climate and learn to draw professional conclusions. What is phenology? A large part of the material in C.S.I. PhenoBiota is developed together with the pupils. For example, a NawiTech research box for kindergarten children is being developed to make the project's main topics accessible to our youngest participants in a playful way and with all their senses. In the Girls only! programming course, schoolgirls develop a simple app.  

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Pupils observe with the Nature Calendar App © Marco Schupfer

With the help of the already existing nature calendar app and the new neophyte feature, parents, grandparents, siblings and other interested Citizen Scientists should also be encouraged to participate in the project and share their phenological observations. How does the app work (in German)? However, there is also an analogue way to record the phenological phases using observation sheets. Click here to download the sheets (in German). At the end of the project, the collected data will be used to create phenomenal hubs for all participating school classes, with the help of which our young researchers can forecast the annual development of neophytes in their region.

In addition, the pupils have the opportunity to work out and examine their own scientific questions that are of burning interest to them on the topic. 

In the project, the young researchers accompany the entire process from the planning, development and implementation of phenological data collection to data evaluation and application of the findings. They also actively help to communicate their results. 

Click here to listen to the radio programmes: 

In keeping with the theme, our experts also come to schools and provide exciting insights into their professions. Pupils visit researchers in the region and make valuable contacts for the future. Interested students have the opportunity to write pre-scientific Matura papers on the topic and to work closely with our experts.

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Excursion with the Naturschutzbund to the Trautenfels nature reserves © Marco Schupfer

Project goals

To get to know the complex of topics "Neophytes-Phenology-Climate Change" and to explore connections independently through innovative, interdisciplinary teaching methods. Enable and use access to NawiTech researchers in the region, e.g. for projects, internships, excursions, scientific work). Strengthen the role of children with a migration background through special tasks in the project and emphasise and use their competences.

Actively involve parents, grandparents, siblings and other interested Citizen Scientists in the project and get them enthusiastic about joint research.

Project partners

  • Corporate partner:
    • RML Regional Management Bezirk Liezen
  • Scientific partners:
    • Berg- und Naturwacht Steiermark
    • Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
    • Higher Federal Teaching and Research Institute for Agriculture Raumberg-Gumpenstein
  • Educational institutions:
    • WIKI Kindergarten Donnersbachwald
    • Altenmarkt Nature Park Primary School
    • St. Gallen Nature Park Primary School
    • Primary School Aigen im Ennstal
    • Secondary School Irdning
    • Secondary School Stainach
    • Admont Abbey Grammar School
    • Federal Training College for Kindergarten Education Liezen

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Group photo of consortium partners © NUP Steirische Eisenwurzen

What opportunities does your project offer for educators who would like to apply for a cooperation grant?

We invite educational institutions from all school levels and from all over Austria to participate in the project through individual activities and to take a closer look at the fascinating phenological world of neophytes with us. All activities of C.S.I. PhenoBiota can also be implemented with cooperating schools. You are welcome to bring in your own ideas on the project topic and explore them together within the framework of the cooperation grants. Cooperation grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

Picture gallery


Mit Unterstützung vom Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie sowie die Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG) mit dem Förderschwerpunkt Talente regional.

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  • plants
Read 71 times| Last modified on Wednesday, 31 August 2022 09:27