“Dendrothek NSK” citizen science programme held as part of 2023 Croatia’s Science Festival

Objavljeno 26.4.2023.

On 25 April 2023, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) joined the 2023 Croatian Science Festival by organising Dendrothek NSK, a citizen science programme organised as part of Green Library for Green Croatia, a special programme of green initiatives which the Library launched in 2016.

The visual identity of Croatia’s 2023 Science Festival.

Prepared through the Library’s cooperation with the Zagreb Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology and the students of VIII and XII grammar schools in Zagreb, Dendrothek NSK was also held as part of Citizen Science Month, organised by SciStarter, which has joined forces with libraries in the higher education system to stimulate citizen science.

Bringing together culture and science and encouraging active participation of young people in scientific endeavours, Dendrothek NSK drew on the Library’s old postcards of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, preserved as part of the NSK Print Collection to identify trees and other woody plants seen in them and compare them with the vegetation on the same locations today, thus wishing to actively contribute to public debates on the importance of biodiversity, to the raising of public awareness of the nature in our immediate surroundings and our complete dependence on it and to the promotion and popularisation of citizen science initiatives and open science.

Led by one of Croatia’s leading authorities on dendrology, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Forest Genetics, Dendrology and Botany of the Zagreb Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology Igor Poljak, the students visited the locations featured on postcards, photographed them, fashioned them after the old postcards and identified trees and other woody plants present on these locations today. After subsequently attending a programme during which the Library’s staff introduced the students to the concept of citizen science and the Faculty’s dendrologists presented their work and the ways to recognise different tree species, the students and the dendrology experts together analysed the differences between the locations featured on the old postcards and their present-day versions captured on the students’ photographs to identify the predominant tree species in the past, those currently predominant, and those which have persisted on the locations until the present day.

Activities planned as part of Dendrothek NSK include the setting up of a website on which data and material gathered through its activities will be made publicly available and on which the wider public will be able to see how the locations featured on the old postcards have changed in terms of vegetation and learn about the specific characteristics of various tree species.

Since the beginning of 2022, the National and University Library in Zagreb has taken part in Citizen-Enhanced Open Science in Southeastern Europe Higher Education Knowledge Hubs (CeOS_SE Project), a research project prompted by the awareness of the need for the growth of interconnectedness between society and science, in which context libraries may play a vital role, and which spawned Dendrothek NSK.

This year’s Croatian Science Festival, opened on 24 April, is taking place until 29 April 2023.