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

  • Youth-focused citizen science: Examining the role of environmental science learning and agency for conservation.
    Authors: Ballard, H. L., Dixon, C. G. H., & Harris, E. M. Journal: Biological Conservation.

    Citizen science can improve conservation science, natural resource management, and environmental protection.
    Authors: McKinley, D. C., Miller-Rushing, A. J., Ballard, H. L., and others. Journal: Biological Conservation.

  • Bonney, R.; T.B. Phillips; H.L. Ballard and J. Enck.  2015.  Can citizen science enhance public understanding of science?  Public Understanding of Science 1-15.

  • McKinley, D.C., A.J. Miller-Rushing, H.L. Ballard, R.E. Bonney, H. Brown, D.M. Evans, R.A. French, J.K. Parrish, T.B. Phillips, S.F. Ryan, L.A. Shanley, J.L. Shirk, K.F. Stepenuck, J.F. Weltzin, A.Wiggins, O.D. Boyle, R.D. Briggs, S.F. Chapin III, D.A. Hewitt, P.W. Preuss, and M.A. Soukup. 2015. Investing in Citizen Science Can Improve Natural Resource Management and Environmental Protection.  Issues in Ecology 19, Fall 2015.

  • Cigliano, J.A.; R. Meyer; H.L. Ballard; A. Freitag; T.B. Phillips and A. Wasser.  2015. Making marine and coastal citizen science matter.  Ocean and Coastal Management 115: 77-87.

  • Monroe, M.; H.L. Ballard; A. Oxarart; V. Sturtevant; P. Jakes and E.R. Evans. 2015. Agencies, Educators, Communities and Wildfire: Partnerships to Enhance Environmental Education for Youth.  Environmental Education Research. DOI:10.1080/13504622.2015.1057555

  • Long, J.; H.L. Ballard; L. Fisher and J. Belsky.  2015. Questions that won’t go away in participatory action research.  Society and Natural Resources: An International Journal 29 (2): 250-263.

  • Bonney, R.; J.L. Shirk; T.B. Phillips; A. Wiggins; H.L. Ballard; A.J. Miller-Rushing; J.K. Parrish.  2014.  Next Steps for Citizen Science. Science 243: 1436-7. 28 March 2014.
  • Benz, S.; A. Miller-Rushing; M. Domroese; H. Ballard; T. DeFalco; S. Newman; J. Shirk; A. Young. 2013. Workshop 1: Conference on Public Participation in Scientific Research 2012: An International, Interdisciplinary Conference. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. January 2013.
  • Galt, Ryan E.; Damian Parr; Julia Van Soelen Kim; Jessica Beckett; Maggie Lickter; Heidi L. Ballard.  2013.  Teaching to transgress in sustainable agriculture and food systems: lessons from employing critical social constructivist pedagogy in a university course.  Agriculture and Human Values.
  • Jordan, Rebecca C.; Heidi L. Ballard; Tina B. Phillips. 2012. Key issues and new approaches for evaluation citizen-science learning outcomes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10 (6): 307-309.
  • Shirk, J.L.; H.. Ballard, C.C. Wilderman, T. Phillips, A. Wiggins, R. Jordan, E. McCallie, M. Minarchek, B.V. Lewenstein, M.E. Krasny, R. Bonney. 2012. Public Participation in Scientific Research: A Framework for Deliberate Project Design. Ecology and Society 17 (2): 29.
  • Ballard, Heidi L.; Emily Evans; Victoria E. Sturtevant and Pamela Jakes. In Press. The Evolution of Smokey Bear: Environmental Education about Wildfire for Youth. Journal of Environmental Education.
  • Evans, Evans; Cynthia Carter-Ching and Heidi L. Ballard. 2012. Volunteer guides in nature reserves: exploring environmental educators’ perceptions of teaching, learning, place and self. Environmental Education Research.
  • Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E. and Heidi L. Ballard. 2011. How Community-Based Collaboratives Learn: Ecological Monitoring and Adaptive Management, in Firehock, Karen and E. Franklin Dukes, (eds.) Effective Collaboration for Natural Resource Management and Environmental Protection. University of Virgina Press.
  • Ballard, Heidi L. and Jill M. Belsky. 2010. Participatory Research and Environmental Learning: Implications for Building Resilience in Communities and Forests. Environmental Education Research.
  • Ballard, H.L.., V.E. Sturtevant and M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez. 2010. Improving forest management through participatory monitoring: A comparative case study of four community-based forestry organizations in the Western United States. In Lawrence, A. (ed), Taking Stock of Nature: Participatory Biodiversity Assessment for Policy Planning and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bonney, R., Ballard, H., Jordan, R., McCallie, E., Phillips, T., Shirk, J., and Wilderman, C. C. 2009. Public Participation in Scientific Research: Defining the Field and Assessing Its Potential for Informal Science Education. A CAISE Inquiry Group Report. Washington, D.C.: Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE).
  • Fortmann, Louise and Heidi L. Ballard. 2009. Sciences, Knowledges, and the Practice of Forestry. European Journal of Forest Research. 9 December 2009.
  • Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E.; Heidi L. Ballard and Victoria E. Sturtevant. 2008. Adaptive Management and Social Learning in Collaborative and Community-based Monitoring: A Study of Five Community-based Forestry Organizations in the Western USA. Ecology and Society 13 (2): no. 4.
  • Ballard, Heidi L.; Maria E. Fernandez-Gimenez, and Victoria E. Sturtevant. 2008. Integration of Local Ecological Knowledge and Conventional Science: A Study of Seven Community-based Forestry Organizations in the USA. Ecology and Society 13 (2): 25.
  • Ballard, Heidi L. 2008. What makes a scientist?: Studying the impacts of harvest in the Pacific Northwest, USA, in Louise Fortmann (ed.), Participatory Research in Conservation and Rural Livelihoods: Doing Science Together. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.: Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ballard, Heidi L., Joyce A. Trettevick and Don Collins. 2008. Comparing Participatory Ecological Research in Two Contexts: An Immigrant community and a Native American Community on Olympic Peninsula, Washington, Carl Wilmsen, William Elmendorf, Larry Fisher, Jacquelyn Ross, Brinda Sarathy and Gail Wells, (ed), Partnerships for Empowerment: Participatory Research for Community-based Natural Resource Management, Earthscan, London.
  • Ballard, Heidi L. and Brinda Sarathy. 2008. Inclusion and Exclusion: Immigrant Forest Workers and Participation in Natural Resource Management, Carl Wilmsen, William Elmendorf, Larry Fisher, Jacquelyn Ross, Brinda Sarathy and Gail Wells, (ed), Partnerships for Empowerment: Participatory Research for Community-based Natural Resource Management, Earthscan, London.
  • Fortmann, Louise; Heidi L. Ballard and Louise Sperling. 2008. Change around the Edges: Gender Analysis, Feminist Methods and Sciences of Terrestrial Environments, in Londa Schiebinger (ed.), Gendered Innovations in Science and Engineering. Stanford University Press:  Stanford, California.
  • Ballard, H. and L. Fortmann. 2007. Collaborating Experts: Integrating Civil and Conventional Science to Inform Management of Salal (Gaultheria shallon), in Hanna, Kevin and D. Scott Slocombe, (eds.) Integrated Resource Management. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  • Ballard, H. L. and L. Huntsinger. 2006. Salal Harvester Local Ecological Knowledge, Harvest Practices and Understory Management on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal 34 (4): 529-547.
  • Pilz, David; Heidi L. Ballard and Eric T. Jones. 2006. Broadening Participation in Biological Monitoring: Guidelines for Scientists and Managers. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report, PNW-GTR-680. http://www.ifcae.org/projects/ncssf3/
  • Ballard, Heidi L. 2005. Integrating Knowledge of Forest Management. (Invited Response.) Common Property Resource Digest. Quarterly Publication of the International Association for the Study of Common Property, December 2005.
  • Ballard, Heidi L.; David Pilz; Eric T. Jones and Christy Getz. 2005. Training Curriculum for Scientists and Managers: Broadening Participation in Biological Monitoring. National Commission on the Science for Sustainable Forestry. http://www.ifcae.org/projects/ncssf3/
  • Kerns, B. K., D. Pilz, H. Ballard, and S. J. Alexander. 2003. Compatible Management of Understory Forest Resources and Timber, in Monserud , R.A., R.W. Haynes, and A.C. Johnson (eds.) Compatible Forest Management. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Ballard, H. 2003. Harvester Knowledge and Science: Participatory Research on the Impacts of Harvesting Salal (Gaultheria shallon). Proceedings of the Rural Sociological Society 2003 Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec.
  • Ballard, H.; Kraetsch, R. and Huntsinger, L. 2002. Collaborative Monitoring in Walnut Creek, CA. California’s Changing Oak Woodlands. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-GTR-184 2002.
  • Ballard, H., D. Collins, A. Lopez and J. Freed. 2002. Harvesting Floral Greens in Western Washington as Value-Addition: Labor Issues and Globalization. 2002. Proceedings of the International Association for the Study of Common Property Biennial Meeting June 2002, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
  • Stanford Human Biology Middle Grades Life Sciences Project. 1998. HUMBIO Ecology. HUMBIO Your Changing Body. HUMBIO Sexuality. HUMBIO Reproduction. Everyday Learning Corporation, Chicago.
  • Blair, R. B. and Ballard, H. L. 1995. Conservation Biology: A curriculum for high school students (Teacher and Student Editions). Kendall-Hunt Publ. Co.: Debuque, Iowa. 263 p, 83 pgs.
  • Mukai, G.; Ballard, H. and Enimoto, A. 1995. Feeding a Hungry World: Rice in Asia and the Pacific. Stanford Project for International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) Institute for International Studies, Stanford, CA.

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

  • 2015-2020 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

  • Advisory Board, citizen science project “Political Participation Observer“, University of Vienna, funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy

  • Governance Council member for the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California, a UC Multi-Campus Research Initiative.
  • Advisory Board for American Museum of Natural History “Public Participation in Scientific Research for Conservation Workshop” in April 2011
  • Community Forestry and Environmental Research Partnerships (steering committee member)

Courses Taught at UC Davis

  • Winter Quarter 2012 Office Hours: W 2-4pm and F 10-12pm, contact Dr. Ballard
  • EDU 142 – Introduction to Environmental Education (NEW in Spring 2010)
  • EDU 292 (soon to be 238) – 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

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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