We asked some of the members in our first citizen science project – Nappy Science Gang (NSG) – to tell us about their experience of being involved in the project. Meet Jen:
Occupation: tax advisor
Highest science qualification: Chemistry A Level
My NSG journey: I started with being a quiet observer on the edges. I couldn’t get to any live chats, but read them afterwards with interest. I posted a comment or two on Facebook. Then Sophia asked for volunteers to help run an information stall at the East Midlands Baby Show, and I helped out. It made a huge difference to me to see and hear about the experiments first hand, so I invited Sophia to our next nappuccino (cloth nappy information morning) where she spoke about the project and did the flushable liners test. This was a really enjoyable, engaging nappuccino and we had great feedback.
After that, ‘team 90°C’, in the temperature washing experiment needed a last-minute substitute, as someone dropped out, and I volunteered. The kit came with a few instructions for extra scientific experiments and some litmus paper, which was a nice surprise. It was also really interesting to see how damaged some of the fabrics already were when the nappies arrived.
I was also fortunate enough to get to the results event at the Science Museum, which was really interesting. And it meant I could compare the nappies I’d washed with the ones from the other teams, which was also interesting. I also went on the trip to look at nappies down a scanning electron microscope, at Nottingham University, which was my first time in a real science lab!
I think I have always had a fairly good relationship with science. But this has made me think about the science of nappies. I am more likely to do some absorbency tests on the kit nappies, which I have thought about before but never got round to… NSG has made me curious again.
The effect I have seen as a result of NSG’s work is a wider discussion about washing routines based on experience, personal experimenting and results/chats etc from NSG. We have moved away from ‘1/2 dose of non-bio… Because that is the advice’, to a more individual approach, which is getting parents thinking about what works for them and the science behind it – all great stuff! As nappy library volunteers, we have also started to highlight that disposable liners should not be flushed.