PhD student Pen-Yuan Hsing was awarded funding to join our Into the Night project. With funding from the Natural Environment Research Council, Earthwatch and University College London's Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) group employed five early career researchers to co-design and develop the programme, which was designed to highlight the effects of artificial light on wildlife and human well-being.
Working together, the team ran 10 public discovery events, coinciding with WWF's Earth Hour, at which people looked and listened for nocturnal wildlife and reflected on how their night-time experience impacted their emotional well-being.
"The project helped me better understand the nature of the work I'd like to do after my PhD," Pen-Yuan Hsing said. "Rather than pure research, I'd love to do something that engages people in science, and connects people to create something greater than the sum of their parts."
Dr Adele Powell, development coordinator at Earthwatch, added: "Into the Night provided a great opportunity for the PhD students to gain experience outside of their familiar academic institutions to involve people in science.
"They came to realise that engaging and educating people in science projects is as equally important as the science outcomes. It was clear that there's something special about the night-time environment that draws people in."