Faculty Profile EMPHASIS AREA: SCI/AG. Environmental Education; Citizen Science; Participatory Action Research; In-service and Preservice Teacher Learning; Science Education

Heidi Ballard

Professor and Chancellor’s Fellow

Portrait of Heidi Ballard

Heidi Ballard is the Founder and Faculty Director of the Center for Community and Citizen Science. You can find more information about her past and current projects, and sign up for occasional updates at the Center’s website.


I am interested in environmental education that links communities, science, environmental action and learners of all ages. Particularly I’m interested in what and how people learn through public participation in scientific research (PPSR) as a form of informal science education.  From citizen science-type projects for conservation to participatory action research for natural resources management and environmental justice, PPSR projects can create unique opportunities for learning by participants and scientists. Understanding the outcomes and processes of these projects can contribute to better practices in environmental and science education, and better conservation and natural resource management.

Research Interests

Environmental Education; Citizen science; Participatory Action Research; In-service and preservice teacher learning; Science Education; Secondary Education; Service-learning. For more information.


  • Ph.D. (2004) Environmental Science, Policy and Management from University of California, Berkeley
  • M.A. (1999) Teaching Biological Sciences from Miami University, Ohio
  • California Single Subject Teaching Credential (1994) Science and English Literature, Stanford Teacher Education Program, Stanford University
  • M.A. (1993) Education, Science Curriculum and Teacher Education, Stanford University
  • B.A. (1993) Human Biology and English Literature, Stanford University

Recent Publications

Stephens, A. and H.L. Ballard. In Press. Chapter 5. Developing environmental action competence in an urban high school agriculture and environmental program. In Esters, L.T., Patchen, A., DeCoito, I., Knobloch, N. (Eds.), Research Approaches in Urban Agriculture and Community Contexts.

Ballard, H.L., A. Calabrese-Barton, and B. Upadhyay. In press. Editorial, Call for Papers Special Issue, Community-Driven Science: Evidence of and implications for equity, justice, science learning, and participation. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 1-4.

Lorke, J., H.L. Ballard, A.E. Miller, S. Pratt-Taweh, J. Jennewein, A. Young, L. Higgins, R. Johnson, L. Robinson. In press.  Step by step towards citizen science – Deconstructing youth participation in BioBlitzes.  Journal of Science Communication.

Harris, E.M. and H.L. Ballard. In press. Examining student environmental science agency across school science contexts. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

Aristeidou, M., C. Herodotou, H. L. Ballard, A.N. Young, A.E. Miller, L. Higgins, R. F. Johnson. 2021. Exploring the participation of young citizen scientists in scientific research: The case of iNaturalist. PLos ONE, 16 (1), e0245682.

Bruckermann, T. Lorke, J., Rafolt, S., Scheuch, M., Aristeidou, M., Ballard, H., Bardy-Durchhalter, M., Carli, E., Herondotou, C., Kelemen-Finan, J., Robinson, L., Swanson, R., Winter, S., & Kapelari, S. 2020. Learning opportunities and outcomes in citizen science: A huristic model for design and evaluation.  In O. Levrini & G. Tasquier (Eds.) Electronic Proceedings of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) 2019 Conference.  (pp. 889-898). University of Bologna.

Bird, E.B., P. Harte and H.L. Ballard. 2020. Birds near and far: Students investigate local environmental phenomena on campus and at a local pond. Science and Children, Sept./Oct. 2020, p. 48-54.

Ballard, H.L. and E.M. Harris. 2020. Training. In C. Lepczyk, T. Vargo and O. Wilson (Eds), Handbook of Citizen Science in Ecology and Conservation. Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California Press.

Herodotou, C., M. Aristeidou, G. Miller, H.Ballard and L. Robinson. 2020. What do we know about young volunteers?: An exploratory study of participation in Zooniverse. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, 5 (1): 2, pp. 1-14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/cstp.248.

Harris, E.M., C.G.H. Dixon, E.B. Bird and H.L. Ballard. 2019. For science and self: Youth interactions with data in community and citizen science. Journal of the Learning Sciences. DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2019.1693379.

Phillips, T.B., H.L. Ballard, B.V. Lewenstein and R. Bonney. 2019. Engagement in science through citizen science: Moving beyond data collection. Science Education, 103:665–690. DOI: 10.1002/sce.21501

Harris, E.M. and H.L. Ballard. 2018. Science in the palm of your hand: A framework for designing and facilitating citizen science in the classroom. Science and Children April 2018.

Ballard, H.L., T.B. Phillips and L. Robinson. 2018. Conservation outcomes for citizen science. In A. Bonn, M. Haklay, S. Hecker, A. Bowser, Z. Makuch & J. Vogel (Eds), Citizen Science: Innovations for Science and Society. London, UK: University College London Press.

Professional Experience

K-12 Teaching Experience

  • 1995-1998 Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Also, California.  9-12th Grade Biology, Global Science, Physics, Applied Biology
  • 1993-1995 John F. Kennedy Middle School, Redwood City, California. 7th Grade Life Sciences

Curriculum and Teacher Professional Development

  • 1992-1993 Curriculum Developer, Stanford Project for International and Cross-Cultural Education
  • 1993-1996 Curriculum Developer, Human Biology Middle Grades Life Sciences Curriculum Project, designed and wrote activities, and conducted teacher professional development for Evolution, Ecology, Human Sexuality and Reproduction curriculum units.
  • 2000-2001 Science Consultant, Prentice Hall – Pearson Education, Conducted science textbook presentations and inservice workshops for middle and high school teachers throughout California.

Awards and Honors

  • 2014-2019 Chancellor’s Fellow
  • 2010-2011 UC Davis Hellman Fellow
  • 2004 University of California, Berkeley, University Fellowship.
  • 2002-2003 Environmental Science, Policy and Management Departmental Fellowship.
  • 2002-2003 Ford Foundation Community Forestry Research Dissertation Fellowship.

Current Activities and Service

Courses Taught at UC Davis

  • EDU 142 – Introduction to Environmental Education 
  • EDU 292 – Participatory Action Research
  • EDU 264 – Scientific Literacy and Science Education Reform
  • EDU 292 – Graduate Seminar in Environmental Education
  • EDU 294 – Science, Agric. and Math Education Graduate Seminar
  • EDU 206 B/C/D – Inquiry into Classroom Learning (Teacher Action Research

Graduate Student Researchers

Chris Jadallah
Amanda Lindell
Connor Rosenblatt
Emily Harris
Colin Dixon
Karen Bush
Jennifer Metes
Sinead Brien

Funded Research

  • “Pathways Grant – Citizen Science in the California Naturalist program: Building the nexus between learning and action” – PI, National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program, 2011-2013.
  • “Public Participation in Scientific Research for Environmental Education: Research on Engaging Diverse Communities for Environmental Science Learning and Stewardship” – PI, Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, 2012-2013.
  • “Educating Families by Educating Youth about Wildfire” – PI, USDA Forest Service, 2009-2012.
  • “A partnership model for recruiting non-traditional and underrepresented high school students into agricultural sustainability degree programs” – Co-PI, USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant, 2011-2013.
  • “Environmental learning, mitigation strategies, and lion conservation in Tanzania” – PI, UC Davis Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Grant, 2010-2012.
  • Past Projects:
  • “Social Learning in Contested Fields: Collaborative research and action among rice growers and migratory bird conservationists” – UC Davis Hellman Fellowship, 2010-2011.
  • “Making ‘hands-on’ science ‘minds-on’ science: Creating connections between classrooms, farms and habitats” – Cooperative Research and Extension Service for Schools Collaborative Research Grant
  • “Sustainable Harvest Project” – Laura Jane Musser Foundation
  • “Ecological Monitoring in Community Forestry in the U.S.” - Ford Foundation

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