The Center for Community and Citizen Science is a home to programs and partnerships that revolutionize how—and with whom—science gets done. Based on a foundation of research excellence, the Center helps scientists, communities, and citizens collaborate on science to address environmental problems as a part of civic life.
What are Community and Citizen Science?
Community Science and Citizen Science engage members of the public to collaborate with professional scientists to conduct research-based investigations, engage in monitoring activities, collect data and interpret results, and produce new knowledge used for natural resource management or basic research. This includes community science, which is community-driven research or monitoring in partnership with scientists.
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We hope you can join us online or in-person this week for our next Collabinar—
CALeDNA, Next Steps:
Creating a scalable roadmap for how a community science program involved in cutting edge research can build a strong feedback loop.
Friday, May 24th
from 11:00am-1:00pm PST
Launched in 2017, CALeDNA is a University of California community science program that uses environmental DNA to monitor California’s biodiversity. Creating an open data platform aimed at the public and researchers alike was a first step in engaging both parties in this research. Analyses thus far have demonstrated the effectiveness of marine protected areas, the relationship between fire and plant biodiversity, and the spread of invasive species. They have also shown which questions are well-suited to eDNA methods and which are not. CALeDNA wants to empower their broad community with genetics literacy and the ability to use eDNA for innovation and problem solving.
We are looking forward to continuing our Collabinar series this spring! Please join us online or in-person for:
Sci Starter Education: a new, pilot, Ed-Tech platform to integrate facilitator-led citizen science in schools through district- and school-wide approaches
Friday, May 17th
from 11:00am to 1:00pm
Many may have heard of SciStarter, which helps people find, join, and contribute to citizen science through its database of thousands of citizen science projects taking place all over the world. In this event, we’ll learn about a new SciStarter initiative that points to possibilities for scaled up integration of citizen science in the classroom.
The Center collaborated with the California Naturalist Program, educators in the Woodland Joint Unified School District, and a variety of local nature centers and reserves to encourage participation in the Sacramento City Nature Challenge. Despite being its first year participating in this global competition (as one of more than 160 cities worldwide), over 500 people in the Sacramento region logged 9,798 observations of over 1,200 unique species using iNaturalist.
What was your path to where you are today, and when did you first become involved with community and citizen science?
During my years in higher education, I became fascinated with ethnobotany—the study of cultural uses of plants—as well as the emerging fields of conservation biology and sustainable development. Across all these fields, I was most drawn to studies that involved collaborative monitoring, where different groups of stakeholders—environmentalists, resource-dependent communities, scientists, and agencies—all came together to collect data.
Governments and communities around the world are working to reduce their carbon footprints and mitigate the effects of climate change, but in some communities, climate action plans are stalling. A new report, “Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action,” prepared by the Independent Advisory Committee for Applied Climate Assessment (IAC) with contributions from our Executive Director, Ryan Meyer, examines what it would take to develop a dynamic assessment process that helps affected jurisdictions, communities, and organizations establish pathways for climate action. Its recommendations are an important input to ongoing climate assessment and research in the federal government and elsewhere.
A role for community and citizen science
Bringing communities to the table and making sure they have the resources they need to adapt to new climate conditions is important, and community and citizen science play a critical role. This report hits upon the urgent need and exciting potential for diverse communities to participate actively in the science that supports climate adaptation and resilience. Participation through community and citizen science can address longstanding issues of equity and access that have for so long made science feel distant and irrelevant to many, even as the impacts of climate change loom larger and larger. Additionally, citizen and community science has the potential to close gaps in data-poor areas, shedding light on previously undocumented socioeconomic, ecological and health-related issues.
We’re looking forward to the upcoming Citizen Science Association (CSA) conference, right around the corner! Come catch up with us and our work at the events listed below. We are also excited to host a youth-focused community and citizen science happy hour alongside the Education Working Group on Thursday March 14th, from 6:00-8:00PM. It will be an informal evening of networking and discussing the involvement of young people in citizen and community science. See the image below for more information, and RSVP here.
For the first time ever, the Sacramento Region will be participating in the City Nature Challenge. We will be competing with more than 170 cities all over the world to see who can catalogue the most nature in just 4 days! We think that joining this global effort to discover local biodiversity through citizen science is a great opportunity for the Center, and for the region.
I practiced my poster presentation with my family the night before my flight to Washington, D.C. The poster explored features of community and citizen science (CCS) projects that had a climate change focus. We were interested in showing how, within the context of climate change, CCS has the potential to not only generate usable data for climate science, but also to provide meaningful learning experiences for participants, depending on how these projects are designed and implemented. I thought it would be a good idea to practice talking about this work with people who had no idea what citizen science is, but their puzzled looks made me feel even more nervous about going to AGU. I spent that night fighting anxious thoughts and battling the infamous “Imposter Syndrome.”
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has released a new report that takes a deep dive into research on learning through citizen science. Beyond the many challenges and recommendations it details, the report is a strong affirmation that citizen science can support both science learning and research goals. We’re proud that our work has informed this effort, including an Academy-commissioned white paper and keynote talk by Faculty Director Heidi Ballard, and Center Alums Emily Harris and Colin Dixon.
The Center for Community and Citizen Science is excited to welcome Maryam Ghadiri as the new postdoctoral fellow on the LEARN CitSci project. Maryam was recently the director of education and research at the Environmental Learning Center (ELC), a non-profit organization in Vero Beach, Florida. She worked with educators and ecologists to design, implement and evaluate different environmental education and outreach programs.
The City Nature Challenge began as a nature-observation competition between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County in 2016, organized around simple charge: “which city can find the most nature?” Since then, the competition has expanded rapidly, and this year more than 120 cities will participate worldwide!
The Center will be hosting its next CCS Collabinar event from 9:00-11:00 AM on Wednesday, December 5th in room 174 of the School of Education building. The presentation will focus on place-based citizen science in Lake Tahoe, and integrating multiple projects in a single framework.
Skye Kelty and Alfonso Aranda are graduate students at UC Davis, and Campus Affiliates of the Center for Community and Citizen Science. In this post they describe their multi-year collaboration with community members in Knights Landing, a wonderful example of student-led community science that has crossed many disciplinary and institutional boundaries.
The NAAEE is dedicated to strengthening environmental education and increasing the efficiency of the profession, while working alongside a diverse group of educators. They strive to accelerate environmental literacy and civic engagement amongst all ages through environmental education.
We are still glowing from the last three days of shared learning, planning, and camaraderie with local partners, teachers, after-school educators, school garden coordinators. With thanks to our partner, Yolo Farm to Fork, who developed the article below, we offer some initial insights from this workshop, with more to come in the near future!
We’re excited to welcome Chris Jadallah to the the Center for Community and Citizen Science this fall. Chris is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the UC Davis School of Education, and will be pursuing a PhD in Science and Agricultural Education. He recently completed his B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies at UC Berkeley, where he also worked as a researcher and project manager studying native bee conservation. He is interested in exploring the linkages between environmental education, conservation biology, environmental studies, and social justice with the ultimate goal of supporting healthy and empowered communities. Welcome, Chris!