Thanks to Penguin Watch for the image
Tuesday the 20th of January is
Penguin Awareness Day!
(There is also World Penguin Day on April 25th.)
That’s Tuesday coming, so get ready to enjoy some penguin fun and raise awareness for these enchanting birds 😀
Penguin awareness day is a chance to learn more about penguins and to spread the word about the challenges they face. I have researched this day and I have failed to come to a solid conclusion as to it’s origin, but I’m going to forge ahead regardless.
Here’s the Altius Directory on penguin awareness day and some activities you can do, such as sending e-cards or dressing in black and white.
EHow also has some ideas on how you can celebrate, like carrying around a stuffed toy penguin.
Another thing you can do on Penguin awareness day is adopt a penguin. You can do this at the WWF website or donate to the wildlife charity of your choice.
It’s all about raising awareness, so do something to catch attention and get people to ask questions. Perhaps you could hold a Happy Feet or Frozen Planet viewing party and collect donations for a charity that helps penguins.
Penguins are currently under threat in a number of ways, some of the major issues being climate change, fisheries, and pollution.
There are a lot of charities and organisations working to learn more about the threats to Antarctica and it’s inhabitance, and to help save them. I have picked one to share with you here.
Zooniverse is an organisation that makes science projects available for everyone to contribute to. They create citizen science project websites for a number of different studies. Penguin Watch is the project I want to talk about today.
Penguin Watch is about collecting data on penguin colonies as a baseline for monitoring change, and to aid our understanding of how the Antarctic ecosystems work. This will enable us to identify any changes in the future. The project is explained in detail HERE.
To collect the data cameras have been set up over several areas, and the images they take are uploaded to the website; that’s where you come in. The photos need annotating!
Thanks to Penguin Watch for the image
It’s really simple to do and there is a guide to show you how when you visit the website. By identifying which images contain penguins, and how many, you are providing useful information the team can use, and potentially helping to train a computer to recognise penguins!
You don’t need to worry if you make a few mistakes when you start out – each image is shown to lots of people in order to get the most complete and accurate information possible.
The image above is an example of one of the images you will see on the site. Thankfully you are not expected to count all the penguins in an image like this one! A notice pops up once you have annotated 30 letting you know you can stop and move on to the next one now if you’d like 🙂
Counting penguins is actually a little addictive and whenever I have a little time to spare I’ll log in and get clicking. I once spent a couple of hours clicking away while half watching Walking with Dinosaurs on DVD! Perhaps you could dedicate a little time on Penguin awareness day to this project?
Create an account at Zooniverse and you can monitor how many records you have submitted and, if you take part in more than one project, the proportion of records you have entered for each one. There are a selection of other nature projects, a couple of biology projects and a bunch of space ones too!
I’m going to count some penguins and I might also make some origami penguins to share.
Penguin Watch is part of Penguin Lifelines, a collaboration between ZSL (Zoological Society London), Oxford University, Oceanites, Stony Brook, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Penguin lifelines has a blog here on WordPress.
This BBC Earth article explains Penguin Watch well.