CCS Citizen Science on the Farm

Citizen Science on the Farm

Overview

Citizen Science on the Farm is a collaboration between the Center for Community and Citizen Science and the UC Davis Student Farm. The first year consisted of a year-long professional development course that trained teachers in Woodland, California, to use agriculture-based community and citizen science in their school gardens, on their school campuses or in their own backyard. 

While California produces over one third of the vegetables and two thirds of the fruits and nuts for the United States, more and more children grow up in urban and suburban environments without opportunities to explore agriculture, the environment, or related careers. Outdoor spaces, like school gardens, public spaces or backyards, can help fill this gap by providing experiential learning opportunities and access to nature. Yet, without adequate programming and support, it can be challenging for teachers to incorporate school gardens into their teaching. Through this year-long community and citizen science program, teachers engaged students in authentic agricultural research experiences, which deepened their understanding of agriculture and the environment. These experiences also provided a framework to ask and investigate questions within students’ communities.

 The CitSci on the Farm project was designed to support students in understanding and engaging with biodiversity monitoring programs that were conducted on school campuses (and during school closures, at home as well) as they encountered ways in which the UC Davis Student Farm conducts their own biodiversity monitoring research. With CitSci on the Farm resources K-5 teachers lead students in identifying research questions, designing quality control procedures, collecting data and conducting data analyses. By using real science practices, students were able to take ownership of their work and apply the investigative process to their own lives and communities. Throughout these modules, students were also introduced to researchers at the UC Davis Student Farm, learning about a variety of fields and ways in which research questions are developed and tested on the Student Farm.

Overall, the Citizen Science on the Farm project will provide teachers with the training and materials they need to connect students with their school’s garden or green spaces through youth-focused community and citizen science. We hope you will find these resources easy to access and navigate!  To view the resources for CitSci on the Farm, visit the project homepage. Note: All student and caregiver facing materials have been translated by a native Spanish speaker. Project Homepage                                                                  

Citizen Science on the Farm received support from the U.S. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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