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NPS Archeology Guide > Archeology Outreach > 8. Citizen Science and Service Learning

Citizen Science and Service Learning

Citizen science and service learning have long been part of NPS archeology outreach. Field schools, public excavation and artifact processing days, and site stewardship programs engage the public in collecting and managing archeological data. Other projects support archeology, such as background research (such as collecting newspaper data into a database or identifying elements in photographs), oral history, and experimenting with traditional materials. Parks may also initiate projects to draw on the public's expertise, such as engaging metal detectorists to conduct surveys.

Defining Citizen Science and Service Learning

Citizen science is when the general public joins scientists and subject matter experts in collecting and analyzing data as part of a collaborative project. Service learning is citizen science as public service. It is often used by K-12 and secondary education to refer to projects where students apply classroom-based curricula to public service in their community.

Citizen science and service learning projects on NPS meet the following criteria:

Other considerations include:

Best Practices

When creating or managing citizen science or service learning program, consider the following best practices:

Parks should not undertake citizen science or service learning programs if a professional archeologist is unavailable to give the time, attention, and supervision necessary. When weighing whether or not to host a program, consider that the public and students:

TSM/MJB