River Detectives is a program offered in some regions across Victoria to support educators to explore local waterways and catchments with students. River Detectives includes hands on activities and supporting resources. CeRDI upgraded the River Detectives website to integrate with the Waterwatch database and interactive maps.
In collaboration with the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA), CeRDI completed significant upgrades to the River Detectives website.
River Detectives is a school-based program supporting teachers and school students to explore local waterways and to understand their important relationships to the surrounding landscape and environment.
A unique feature of River Detectives is its water monitoring program whereby school groups can arrange to collect and analyse water science data.
The website enables school groups to submit their data, the same data as Waterwatch volunteers, through the child/student friendly River Detectives website.
The upgrades to the website included:
- A refreshed design with restructured content;
- Direct integration with the Waterwatch database for water quality, water bug and habitat data;
- Interactive maps using Waterwatch, River Detectives and Atlas of Living Australia data; and
- Expansion to multiple CMA regions (originally the website was developed for the North Central CMA only).
The new website coincided with the commencement of the 2017 school year.
River Detectives continues to be a successful and popular citizen science project, with available registration places being quickly filled by schools from across the state each year. Over 250 schools across 10 regions have been registered since the 2017 re-development. This has resulted in over 1300 site visits from 350 sites recorded in the Waterwatch database.
The River Detectives website provides all the power of the sister Waterwatch system, but with an interface that is friendly and intuitive to understand by primary and secondary school students. Examples include colour coded fish that indicate whether a sample is good or bad, instead of the statistical data presented to the senior user.
River Detectives is based on a WordPress installation that has been extended to allow data submission to the Waterwatch system, and a Leaflet JS map combining Waterwatch and Atlas of Living Australia data.