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Attend Community-driven Citizen Science for Health and the Environment symposium, 14 June

The AAAS Fellows Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science Affinity Group and the South Big Data Innovation Hub proudly present a free symposium: Community-driven Citizen Science for Health and the Environment

The democratization of science and technology represents a tremendous opportunity to empower communities to address issues of local concern and to expand scientific knowledge used in policymaking in both the environment and the health sectors. Citizen science presents a tangible opportunity for the general public to connect with research and science policy by creating opportunities for real, needs-based engagement. However, without intentional processes and design, it is possible to exacerbate existing inequalities. This symposium will address the intersection of two complementary approaches: community-driven research and citizen science.

At its core, community-driven research involves the impacted community into research question and hypothesis generation. Once identified, the research questions may combine traditional and citizen science approaches in data collection and analysis. In contrast,  many citizen science projects are conceived and initiated by scientists to answer research questions and leverage non-professionals as a means to crowdsource data collection and/or analysis. This symposium seeks to focus on questions and techniques developed outside of the traditional scientific community to engage communities in both participation and co-creation.

This symposium will begin with a keynote address presenting a common understanding of community-driven research and citizen science. Related policies, projects, issues, and strategies will then be addressed in a series of three panels that focus on different aspects of community-driven citizen science.

Panels will cover these three themes:

  1. Community-Driven Water Quality Projects Focused on Aquatic Systems
  2. Addressing Equity in Environmental Health Using Community-Driven Citizen Science
  3. The Role of Large Citizen Science Platforms in Supporting Community-Driven Projects

Panelists will reflect viewpoints across the citizen science spectrum: from funders, to researchers, to members of impacted communities. The panelists will address policy considerations and contributions, broadening participation of underrepresented groups, project design and implementation, and outcomes.

Additionally, an expo for local community-driven citizen science projects will highlight local projects and organizations. Lightning talks by the exhibiting groups, sharing their interests in and/or experience with community-driven projects, will provide conversation-starters to facilitate networking.

At the end of the day, the goal is for attendees to gain a better understanding of the potential research, public engagement, and policy applications of community-driven citizen science and to advance their involvement with a broader network of interested communities.

* Co-sponsored by the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship and the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub*

Follow the discussion on Twitter with #AAASCitSci and #BDHubs!

Symposium Panelists and Moderators:

Karen Andersen, Friends of the Shenandoah River
Jay Benforado, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Gari Clifford, Emory University
Jennifer Couch, National Institutes of Health
John Dawes, Chesapeake Commons
Julia Drapkin, ISeeChange
Maura Duffy, National Aquarium
Scott Loarie, iNaturalist
Liam O’Fallon, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Raj Pandya, American Geophysical Union
Amanda Rockler, University of Maryland
Rodney Sampson, Opportunity Hub, Brookings
Lea Shanley, South Big Data Innovation Hub
Trey Sherard, Anacostia Riverkeeper
Stinger Guala, U.S. Geological Survey
Sacoby Wilson, University of Maryland

Organizations participating in the Expo:

Reston Association
OpenAQ (as DataKind DC volunteer)
GLOBE Observer/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
ISeeChange
Audubon Naturalist Society
American Geophysical Union/ Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX)
U.S. Geological Survey
Washington Square Park Eco Projects
The New York Botanical Garden
AAAS
SciStarter

Agenda:

8:00 AM Arrival, check in, coffee

8:45 Welcome remarks by Carrie Seltzer and Stella Tarnay

9:00 Keynote address by Raj Pandya, Thriving Earth Exchange

9:30 Break

9:45 Panel 1: Community-Driven Projects Focused on Aquatic Systems

11:15 AM Lunch: Citizen science project lightning talks and expo

12:45 PM Panel 2: Addressing Equity in Environmental Health Using Community-Driven Citizen Science

2:15 Break

2:30 Panel 3: The Role of Large Citizen Science Platforms in Supporting Community-Driven Projects

4:00 Reception & citizen science project expo (continued)

5:30 End

 

American Association for the Advancement of Science
Auditorium
1200 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

Thursday, 14 June 2018
8:00 am-5:30 pm EDT

Register here: https://www.aaaspolicyfellowships.org/events/symposium-community-driven-ctizen-science-health-and-environment

 

Get involved in Audubon’s Climate Watch citizen science work

Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report predicts that over half of North American bird species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.

To test these predictions, Audubon has been running a new community science project, Climate Watch, since January. Climate Watch aims to document species’ responses to climate change by having volunteer community scientists in the field look for birds where Audubon’s climate models project they should be in the 2020’s, giving us an understanding on how birds respond to a changing climate.

There’s still time to get involved. If you would like to find out more about being a volunteer or how to coordinate in 

your area, please contact the Audubon Climate Watch Team at climatewatch@audubon.org

Participate in Reston Bioblitz, 2 June

A bioblitz is a quick but intense biotic survey completed within a 24 hour period. It provides a snapshot in time of what plants and wildlife are found in a certain place.

Reston’s 2018 bioblitz is looking for volunteers, scientists, and naturalists to participate, whether you’re a Reston residents or not. Please contact Patricia Greenberg for more information: pgreenberg@reston.org, 703-435-6552.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Become part of the Habitat Network

Cornell Ornithology Lab and The Nature Conservancy have joined together to create Habitat Network, the first citizen science social network. Habitat Network is a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of wildlife habitat, for  professional scientists and people concerned with their local environments.

The Network collects data by asking individuals across the country to, literally, draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens. They connect you with your landscape details and provide tools for you to make better decisions about how to manage landscapes sustainably.

The kinds of questions they are seeking to answer with your help:

  • What practices improve the wildlife value of residential landscapes?
  • Which of these practices have the greatest impact?
  • Over how large an area do we have to implement these practices to really make a difference?
  • What impact do urban and suburban wildlife corridors and stopover habitats have on birds?
  • Which measures (bird counts? nesting success?) show the greatest impacts of our practices?

Service Project C253-Habitat Yard Mapping is approved for credit for FMN graduates. You can map your own yard, a local park, or other public or private property for which you have access permission. 

Learn more

Attend 2018 Wildflower Symposium: 18-20 May 

The 30th annual Wintergreen Spring Wildflower Symposium offers diverse coverage of wildflowers and mountain ecosystems. The setting has more than 30 miles of hiking trails and convenient access to diverse geological sites. Participants learn about botany, geology, entomology, ornithology and ecology from 17 speakers and instructors.

Come learn from:

Dr. Tom Akre- Director of Virginia Working Landscapes, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Dr. Barbara Abraham- Adjunct Professor, Christopher Newport University and Retired Professor, Hampton
University

Dr. Chuck Bailey- Director and Chair, Department of Geology, College of William and Mary

Doug Coleman-  Field Botanist; Executive Director, The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen

Gerry DeWitt- Nature Photographer

Dr. Mary Jane Epps- Assistant Professor of Biology, Mary Baldwin University

Dr. Linda Fink- Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Ecology, Sweet Briar College

Allen Hale- Owner, Buteo Books & Field Ornithologist, Virginia Society of Ornithology

Clyde Kessler- Birding and Insect Enthusiast, Regional Editor of Virginia Birds

Shawn Kurtzman- Biologist, Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech

Sarah Loken- Professional Macro photographer of the insect/wildflower connection

Chris Ludwig- Chief Biologist, Virginia Division of Natural Heritage & Co-Author, Flora of Virginia

Dr. Chip Morgan- Board Member, Flora of Virginia and Member of the Edith and Theodore Roosevelt Pine
Knot Foundation Board

Dr. Janet Steven- Associate Professor of Biology, Christopher Newport University

Nancy Walters-Donnelly- Director of Activities, Massanutten Resort

Dr. Dennis Whigham- Senior Botanist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center & Founding Director,
North American Orchid Conservation Center

Tom Wiebolt- Retired Curator, Massey Herbarium, Vice President, Virginia Botanical Associates and contributor,
Flora of Virginia

 

Schedule and registration

Attend the Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, 18 May

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany, presents Plants in the Past: Fossils and the Future, in collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden. Present-day plant diversity is rich and varied, but the majority of plant species to have ever lived are now extinct. Knowledge of the past is key to understanding the origins of today’s plant diversity and to illuminating the evolutionary processes that generate biodiversity. The study of prehistoric floras (the fields of paleobotany and paleoecology) also provides key evidence for subjects such as paleozoology, the formation of the Earth’s atmosphere, and climate change.

Warner Bros. Theater
Smithsonian National Museum of American History (location is a change from year’s past)
1300 Constitution Ave NW in Washington, DC 20560
Friday 18 May 2018
9am-8 pm

Registration is free and open to the public.

Find service opportunities with the Fairfax County Parks

New education, stewardship, and citizen science projects for Fairfax Master Naturalists have just been added to the Service Project Calendar. (If you are reading this and are not yet a naturalist, please consider applying for basic training.) You can also find opportunities by contacting the parks directly: Hidden Oaks, Huntley Meadows, Riverbend, Ellanor C. Lawrence, Frying Pan, Green Spring Gardens, Hidden Pond, and Cub Run RECenter all have opportunities for FMN members. Here’s a small sampling:

Spring-Fest at Historic Sully, 21 April, 9:45am–4pm – assist with interactive nature experiences at FCPA table

Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences, Hidden Oaks, 3, 4, 5, 6, 27 April; 1, 2, 3, 4 May 9:15am -1pm – assist at stations including stream studies, stewardship, benthic macroinvertebrate study or live animal exhibits for 7th grade classes

My Sky Tonight Campfire, 7 April, 7-9:30 pm, Hidden Oaks – assist with family campfire program about constellations

Touch this Fox, 28 April, 12-2:30, Hidden Oaks – assist with family program where participants can touch real specimens and bones, educate about taxidermy and specimen care, dissect an owl pellet

Habitat and Parkland Management, dates & times flexible – perform maintenance of trails and other natural resource protection projects, such as with native wildflower garden or storm damage cleanup

Animal care, dates & times flexible – feed and care for animals on exhibit.  Animal care volunteers are needed at Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond, Ellanor C. Lawrence and Riverbend.

To volunteer for Hidden Oaks programs, contact Suzanne Holland, Suzanne.Holland@fairfaxcounty.gov or 703-941-1065.  For other locations, contact the nature center or park.

Natural Discoveries, A Firsthand Account of Citizen Science

A Talk by Jim Waggener
Thursday, 12 April  
7.30 pm – 9.00 pm 
Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road
Alexandria, VA 22312
Virginia Native Plant Society programs are free and open to the public.

Jim Waggener is a naturalist whose military career offered opportunities to travel and observe wildlife, as well as environmental consequences of human actions around the globe. After retiring, Jim began a study of flora and fauna on several public properties with important natural resources. When development threatened wetlands and unique meadows of an Army laboratory in Woodbridge, he organized the public campaign that led to creation of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Similar work on Lorton Prison’s closure yielded conversion of a large private property on Mason Neck to the Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area. His survey — now in its 29th year and drawing volunteers from across the region — continues to document presence (and decline, possible absence) of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and plants at these sites in addition to Lorton/Laurel Hill-Occoquan Regional Park and the Metz Memorial Wetlands Preserve.

Jim founded and was longtime chair of the Prince William Natural Resources Council, and served on the board and as president of Fairfax Audubon Society/Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, for which he began the Audubon at Home project as well as writing and editing ASNV’s books: The Nature of Change and Birds in Northern Virginia. Jim and Joan Waggener reside in Alexandria Virginia.

Coming Soon: The City Nature Challenge! 27-30 April

Citizen scientists throughout the Washington DC metro area will be participating in the 2018 City Nature Challenge, a competition among 60 cities around the world to find and document the diversity of species. No experience required—just a mobile device and a love for nature. Participants will make observations of wild plants and animals using the free iNaturalist app (for Android or Apple).

Why get involved? By participating, you’ll not only get out and see some great urban nature, you’ll help scientists collect data on the biodiversity of our region (and the planet). City Nature Challenge contributors are invited to join the species ID event at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum on Monday, 30.

To sign up for an event, create an event, and learn more, click here.

To download the flyer, click here.

 

Explore, Learn, and Record with iNaturalist

Reviewed by Ana Ka’Ahanui

As naturalists, we have many tools out there to help us record, learn and share information about the nature we love. One of my favorite tools is a free app called iNaturalist, aka iNat, available for iPhone and Android. Easy to navigate and with a simple interface, the app makes recording my nature observations on hikes and other outings fast and painless. After snapping a few photos and entering some basic information, I can share my findings on iNaturalist and its community of over 575,000 users worldwide.

You don’t have to be an expert to use it because one of iNat’s nifty features is crowdsourcing identifications. Not sure of that bird you just posted about? No problem! iNat bird lovers and ornithologists can see your post and help you out by suggesting an ID. The more people that validate your finding, “Yes, that’s an Eastern Bluebird!,” the faster your observation becomes “research grade.” So why not become a citizen scientist and share info about the kinds of critters you love? Your findings can be added to almost 7.7 million observations and over 140,000 observed species. Not only will you be contributing to science, you’ll be helping to map out our region’s biodiversity.

While I enjoy using iNat to keep track of my personal observations, I also love using it for local bioblitzes and events such as the City Nature Challenge, a friendly annual contest among cities to record the most nature over a 4-day period. I encourage you to download the app and practice making observations before the next City Nature Challenge, which runs from Friday, 27 April through Monday, 30 April. The national capital area is competing against over 60 other cities around the country and the world to make the most observations, identify the most species, and recruit the most volunteers. With your help, we can put the DC metro area, including 15 counties in Northern Virginia, at the top of the leader board!