Gerid Hager

Gerid Hager

I'm a research scholar at IIASA, interested in participatory approaches to science and understanding systems, currently playing serious games and working on several EU citizen science projects.

Location Austria


  • @DavidAxon maybe you can start a local group to share and compare temperatures in different micro climates - if this is of interest to you, and if you find it worth spending time on! I can imagine that other farmers may be interested. Can you share a link to your website and online activities? We'd love to have a look!

  • Thank you so much Norman, you are a great inspiration for all of us and we are glad we were able to provide some food for thought and tools to help you along your way. Please, keep up the great work you are doing!

  • In addition, there is an interesting article on the effects of COVID-19 on the ambition of the SDGs:

  • Thanks @NormanWoollons for providing so many insights and for sharing your enthusiasm - gladly our fault to have inspired you to visualise your data!

  • Very nice to hear that you found the information useful and encouraging!

  • Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear the experience was not so good - but it also highlights what it takes to keep people engaged and interested and how feedback should be given (speaking of which... sorry for late reply to your comment!). It is often a matter of time and resources available, but also of expectation management.

  • I like the idea of gamification - creating these targets and sharing progress and questions in social media groups. This could also strengthen sense of community and a common purpose. And one could think of nice ways to celebrate achieving the set targets!

  • Very interesting set-up, David, and sounds like you've created a lovely garden! Very simply put, you would need additional data, eg from other sites near you, that had been in a very similar stage to your garden before you changed it, and that remained mostly that way over the years. You could then look at the data from these plots and how it has changed over...

  • Thanks for sharing the link - very nice indeed, still some types visualisations that I have not seen before (eg the rising/falling example)!

  • Great to hear you gotten so into it you did three!

  • Good question, Laure. To be honest, I'm not sure we know...! But spotting such inconsistencies always triggers the question - what has happened? Can you think of any other possible causes? I'm curious myself... and would want to know: Is the wow temperature some combined temperature value of several weather stations in a region or of one single station? Is the...

  • I think you point at an interesting combination - the hand's on experience of filed work combined with seeing meaningful and insightful results stemming from it, as well as experiencing that one can learn something new and improve one's own skills. These are all important factors that can keep people engaged and motivated.

  • This sounds like a severe issue, is this related to a specific region? What kind of information would be most helpful to you and the community in such a situation?

  • Valantis (in the video) shared experiences from how they analysed data in the Scent project, but this may not be applicable to you.
    Can you explain a bit more what you would like to do, or what you struggle with.

  • We set up this task so everyone can play with larger datasets if they do not have any datasets available and see how and if they can derive insights from them. The activities outlined above refer to the data sets on the GROW Knowledge Hub. If you click on the link in the text above you should reach the page from which you can download the different .csv data...

  • To answer your question we would need to know a bit more detail about the science information you refer to, as well as the type of files. If you have data files saved in an online repository (e.g. dropbox, google drive or similar) then you can usually download them to your computer. If you want to share large files with other people, you can use file sharing...

  • John, do you have datasets that you want to analyse or visualise? If yes, what are they? Maybe we can recommend a simpler to use platform that could help you visualise the data.

  • Thanks for spotting this! We'll try to fix it.

  • @EdwinWisse, yes, this can be key, coupled with good expectation management. If I recall correctly, you said you were a public servant working at the ministry of the interior in The Netherlands - have you also been involved with citizen science in that role?

  • It's great to hear examples of all kinds of issues, from such that strike very locally to more wide-ranging ones. And often, local issues are linked to larger causes and ill-functioning systems. Do you know which type of flood you are experiencing (eg related to overflowing water bodies near by, pluvial flooding from heavy rain events or other)?

  • Looking forward to the course and really great to see such a diverse group of learners, with experience in DIY sensing, nocturnal song collection, tree inventories or ecosystem behaviour. This will make for great discussions and experience sharing!

  • That's really great! iNaturalist also share quality checked data with the international GBIF platform

  • @TeresaHolmes That's great! I'd be curious to know which ones caught your attention! Do you want to share?

  • Teresa, which browser do you use? You can try typing: Does that work?

  • Hi Jan! You can explore the website without registering first. If you access the web version you can, e.g., click on charts (upper left corner) to get an overview of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in Spain, Indonesia and Georgia, as well as common threat types. Natura Alert does not monitor biodiversity or change to biodiversity per se, but...

  • Becky - 30 years of local rainfall data is amazing! Have you compared this with official rainfall data from your area? I'd be interested to see how well they match!

  • Giulia, you point at a very important issue. Which project are you participating in? Can you share location based observations without linking it to your profile or identity? Even if your project profile is linked, there are ways to mask your identity. But, many online communities with a shared interest work because you can connect with real people and follow...

  • This sounds really exciting - how long have you been observing and how are you documenting the observations? Are you also sharing your data with the wider community, e.g. with a biodiversity monitoring project?

  • Trap cameras are great! Did you make it work in the end and manage to make some observations?

  • Teresa, that's no problem! Have you heard of any tools that you are now keen to try yourself?

  • Carla, you are absolutely right. This sentence is misleading, thanks for spotting it! In many cases, especially the ones you describe and for most environmental observations, location and time is absolutely crucial. I imagine what was meant here is the location and date of the person using Zooniverse or a platform just like it, which may still be interesting...

  • Thanks Kerry and Ana for your feedback and thoughts. Currently, the app only works when you enable it to use your phone's location. If you have concerns, you can read about our privacy policy here under GROW Observatory app: It describes in detail what data we use and how and what rights you have.

  • Daniel, you point out correctly, that the same term can be used differently depending on the context you're using them in. The course does not try to change your views on terminology or which words you use in the garden center. But hopefully you now have a better idea of other uses of these terms, i.e. how they are used in science to describe land cover and...

  • Hi Daniel, I'm sorry you find this frustrating! Maybe my answer to Enid's question below helps understand better?

  • Hi Enid!
    Yes, this can be confusing initially. The trick is to find a spot that is representative of a certain area and then assess if the land cover is simple (one cover class) or complex (2 and more land cover classes). So, in the example with the forest (trees) and the wetland (grass and reeds), you can choose a spot either on the wetland (representative...

  • Hi Richard!
    You probably wanted to check out the data recording module for the Changing Climate Mission? This is a feature for registered mission participants and also requires a soil moisture sensor. But if you want to still check it out, you should find a "Register" button on the same page, below from where you put in your email. This means registering for...

  • @JannaHolmstedt - Which iPhone and iOS versions do you have? We're looking into it and it would be great to have a bit more info, thanks!

  • Hi R L! Thanks a lot! We're hoping to improve and put more nuance to the info in the app with inputs like yours. And yes, in order to use the app to collect data for the GROW Changing Climate Mission, you'd need to be and participate in a GROW Place.

  • @AmandaOliver If you increase column width, you should be able to see the dates!

  • Hi Fiona! Any guesses why this could be the case? Also, how does the soil moisture behavior compare over time in those two sites?

  • Hi Helen, great, thanks for your initial thoughts!
    What about the magnitude of change, so, the extent to which moisture levels change in the forest compared to grass or wheat? Can you derive any more conclusions from that?

  • Hm, Frances, very interesting! Which software do you use to open the file? The dates should be May 1-June 29, 2017. Maybe you can check the cell format?

  • Hi Sandra - there are different suggestions online on how to open a .csv-file in numbers. You can try, e.g. this approach (at the bottom):
    Does that work?

  • Hi Doris!
    Great to hear you're excited about putting your own sensor in the ground! March, or spring in general, is a good time to start sensing and to potentially get a longer-time sensing record. Mainly because if you buy a sensor you don't really know whether it survives winter conditions. I suppose it can get quite frosty in your area.
    Please note, the...

  • If you are on the plateau, you won't get much water from run-off, unless there are still higher grounds that slope down to your garden. This is one of the reasons why - in general - hilltops are more dry than valley bottoms.

  • Hi Carol, ideally you should still classify your plot: hilly area, position: toe-slope. If your growing area is flat and has no aspect, then you don't need to record aspect.

  • Hi Alison - yes, shade is relevant to the measurements, because it is also relevant to your microclimate and hence can influence plant growth.

    If you share your recordings with us in the next step (3.11 - click the green cogwheel) you can also record shading.
    There are two types of measurements related to plot shade and coverage:
    1) Light condition...

  • Hi Chris - this will be recorded in terms of how much shade the plot gets. If you fill out the survey, there is a specific field for shading! No need to record shade when recording canopy cover.

  • It is a rather specialist term, thanks for looking it up! You can also read up on a nice explanation here:

  • Hi Frank! I agree - an option would be to collect your own locally appropriate seeds, from spaces you have access to and are allowed to collect seeds from. You can ask friends, check with owners or pick from public places that allow seed collection! Or start small, buy one pack of heirloom seeds, grow the plants, let them set seeds and collect those. This way,...

  • Hi Obi - thanks for providing some great inspiration for possible mixes! And yes, there is little collected knowledge on regional/local polyculture mixes that were and are commonly used by small scale growers (apart from the usual suspects such as onion and carrots and the 3 sisters).

  • Hi Chris, thanks for sharing ideas on how both approaches could be integrated in smaller scale food growing. Sounds fab!

  • Thank you for bringing nuance to the discussion!

  • Thanks Sébastien and so many others for your sensible remarks!

    You've pointed out quite adequately, that this is often a theoretical discussion contrasting two stand points, whereas real circumstances always lie on the wide spectrum in-between, and situations today are hardly ever as pure for us to ask: should we share or spare this untouched piece of...

  • Cesca, you're right, we try to estimate how much each land cover element covers the ground, not just trees.

  • @AllysonRoberts Trees are considered a distinct land cover element, yes. And you are right saying that every tree has something at it's base. Whether a parcel with trees has complex land cover, depends mostly on the density of trees but also on the undergrowth. Generally, if a parcel is covered completely by trees (e.g. a forest or a dense orchard without...

  • Gerid Hager replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Hi Brendan, thanks for this question! So, no, these can be used interchangeably, meaning the point at which a plant will start to wilt if it is not provided with more water. If no further water is added it will die eventually. This though is not the same as what you refer to as "point of no recovery".

  • Hi Mel, indeed, these observations are mostly designed for the outdoors, to be done on the land. But you've done a really good job applying relevant factors to your balcony setting!

  • Hi Mel, in German it's called a "Biom" and refers to a "Großlebensraum" with characteristic features (prevailing climates and respective flora/fauna communities). A "Biotop" is usually something of a much smaller scale within a distinct "Biom". Hope this helps clarify!

  • @jacquiVowles thanks for sharing! Yes, the improvements you can make with adding organic matter on sandy soils is somewhat limited as they drain quickly. What you did, is actually change the texture of your soil by adding clay to it (more on this in week 2!). Also, grass clippings alone may disintegrate quickly and not have as much structure to add as compost...

  • Hi Alan!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! Estimating canopy cover from the ground and by sight only is indeed tricky. The tree trunks are relatively far apart and you can see from the shadow from the sun high up that there are quite a lot of sunny patches. You can use the diagram below starting with deleting the options that are clearly not...

  • Hi José!

    Containing rainwater on a flat plain is indeed tricky and many more factors influence the efforts needed (size of space, surrounding landscape, water sources, your plants needs etc.).

    If you have any buildings or other artificial structures on the plot, you can harvest rainwater from those surfaces and use on-site. Mulching soils around trees is...

  • @lynnbennett-mackenzie any edible weeds though!? Here in Austria, we had a lot of common chickenweed coming out recently - which I find delicious! Also good to remember - "weeds" often help protect your soil during the colder months : )

  • Hi Liisa - You can also think about landscape observations in winter! Do you have a growing space, and is it on a slope? If yes, does the slope affect how fast snow melts, compared to the surrounding landscape? When does the snow usually go away in your area, marking the early beginnings of growing season? You'll hear more about this in the following steps : )

  • Hi Lynn and David - sorry for the confusion, no classification sheet needed, please just go along with the steps!

  • Georgina, you should be able to list as many as you like in the field popping up under "other"!

  • When putting your location on the map you were able to save a unique URL to make changes to the entry. Did you save it by any chance? If you've got that, it should be easy to add to your entry.

  • Thanks for your feedback, Dan. We'll try to improve on the descriptions! In step 1.22 we try to explain simple and complex land cover. As for 6, we would not take this as a whole parcel as both areas (grass/wetland and forest) can be well distinguished and taken as 2 parcels. The idea with the pictures is to understand complex and simple land cover and also to...

  • Hi Georgina!
    It should be easier if you use the pdf classification sheets we have provided for steps 1.22 and 1.24. You can find them in the downloads section at the bottom of the steps. You define land cover (as LC1, LC2 etc.) first and then assess canopy cover for each LC1, LC2 etc.

  • Hi Alan,
    Thanks for the detailed description. As I read your description I would
    1) identify as complex land cover and using the classification sheet
    2) as LC1=trees (fruit trees, e.g. ), LC2=shrubs (small berry fruit, e.g. ), LC3=Vegetable and crop (veg, e.g. and medicinal and aromatic herbs, e.g. ), LC4=Other surfaces (mulch, natural), LC5=bare soil....

  • Monika, yes you can also join and do the observations and measurements from outside Europe. If you click on the map in step 1.4 you can see that a lot of people from around the world joined in! Also, you don't need a mobile phone to be able to participate in the course.

  • It depends on what kind of artificial ground cover you are talking about and if there are other land cover elements around. Can you give me an example of the things you have in mind or are around your plot?

  • Hi Alan,
    Yes, we are definitely interested in gardens as sample points. I have posted a comment about this below (11 May) - it has moved far down by now : ) Check it out!

  • Gerid Hager made a comment

    Dear all,
    we ask you to take pictures and upload to the MOOC, but have forgotten to tell you where! Please upload your photos to your location entry on the map in 1.4.

  • Thanks Alan! Great to have forest gardens on board : )
    We're really sorry it was not specified where to put the photos. Please upload them to your location entry on the map (step 1.4).
    That's right, you have only specified LC on your sheet, which is okay! But you have filled in the only form in step 1.22, right? If you have done so, please then upload your...

  • Hi Dan!
    Canopy cover should refer to the land cover recording you did in step 1.22 where you also define the size of your chosen parcel. The difference between 6 and 10 in the quiz is the density, or total area of tree cover, as canopy cover is defined for each land cover element by total area it covers. In 6, it is simple as it refers to the forest parcel...

  • Hi Jackie and Helen,
    We're really sorry this was not specified! Please upload the photos to your location on the map (step 1.4).

  • Hi Lindsay,
    Could you give an example of what you are referring to? That would be great! Currently, we include greenhouses (or polytunnels) and raised garden beds in the recording (see the classification sheet below). We are considering to expand the selection and include e.g. netting tunnels and horticultural fleece for future observation activitities....

  • Hi Geoff,
    You only need to do aspect if your garden is on a slope! I think we don't specifically mention this, thanks for pointing it out.

  • Woops! Yes, two classification sheets first made it into the downloads here including the one for week 3. You can try doing the classification, but there will be more info on it in week 3 and you will only be able to upload that data then. Sorry for the confusion!

  • Borrowing fields sounds good too : ) but even better, bring your in-laws in and do it together!

  • Sounds good, Jennifer!

  • Hi Jennifer - It's really wonderful to have so many great growers out there! I like that you share your activities in a blog. Do people also come and visit? Given your pictures, I would focus on either the "back field" or the "veggie plot".

  • Hi Kaska,
    Another great question! Our approach right now is to observe at a specific point in time, so do the observations on the land as is now. We might be able to create dynamic data over time, if people are willing to take recordings more often. For now and the MOOC, if you have vegetable beds, but only seedlings out, you'd define land cover as...

  • Great, keep us posted!

  • Kaska, I think I might have covered you answer with my reply to your questions here:
    If not, let me know.
    Also, it's really great to hear that you are intending to take this course out to your garden community!

  • Wow, Tayport Community Garden looks amazing! Thanks for sharing the link.
    From your description and what I can see from the video, you've done a really good job in identifying the different parcels. For the land and canopy cover observations we would not care so much about one part being more dry/boggy than the other unless the boggy part was an actual...

  • Kaska, Slope angle and aspect are for hilly parcels. Great that you have picked up on micro lows/highs though - we'll look into this in more detail in week 3! You're a fast runner : )

  • Hi Su! The cog on this page is to show and familiarize you with the icon. In the next steps, where we ask you to upload data, you'll be able to click on it.

  • Dear Kaska,
    You raise some really interesting question, thanks for that. My comment refers to this MOOC specifically and the data we seek to collect in the MOOC. In the GROW project (which this MOOC is a part of), we are also looking into more nuanced experiments that we will be doing in the future and your idea of comparing native soil with managed soils in...

  • Dear Kathryn,
    Great to hear you like the course! Your indoor growing situation is not ideal for the data we are looking for and it might actually add erroneous data, which we are trying to avoid. But this should not discourage you! You can still take part in doing some of the activities (e.g. you could assess land and canopy cover in a public park or garden...

  • Heiko, please see my comment above. You're not alone in facing the challenge! As you say, soils can vary highly even within a small area. For now, choose one spot, possibly the front garden. In this course, we primarily want you to get to know methods for understanding your land and soil better, not necessarily trying to get the perfect representative sample...

  • Cathy, great, you seem to have found a way to deal with the challenge of finding a suitable spot! I added a general comment above that you might want to check out too. You're not alone facing this challenge : )

  • Perry, I added a general comment above that you might want to check out. You're not alone facing this challenge : )

  • Claudiu, I added a general comment above that you might want to check out. You're not alone facing this challenge : )

  • Dear all!

    This has come up several times in your comments, so I thought I add a reply here. We are aware, that a lot of people have only limited access to land and won't be able to find an ideal representative spot for their observations and measurements. That's okay. But if you do have the chance to consider it, we encourage you to think about...

  • This sounds really good, Julie! If you have time, you can take different observations (e.g. from the orchard and the no-dig beds) and upload them separately.

  • Peter, for now, the map is the place for it!

  • Great, glad to hear!

  • Kate, your garden is not too small. We're aware that a lot of people don't have large fields. We would definitely like you to participate. As long as you tell us the right size of your plot (which would be 0–500 sqm), you're good to GROW... um, go!