Schoodic Institute’s Citizen Science Workshop

December 19, 2018 Posted by: Andrew Rosales
The Schoodic Institute is part of a private-public partnership with Acadia National Park and are national leaders in the development of new techniques to involve the public in science and conservation. This nonprofit fosters research and education for Acadia National Park while inspiring the next generation of stewards to help conserve our natural and cultural treasures.

Aerial Photo looking down on Schoodic Point in Maine where the buildings and tree-covered grounds of the Schoodic Institute is located.
Photo courtesy of Schoodic Institute – Aerial photo of the Schoodic Institute on Schoodic Point, Maine.

Citizen Science can be defined as, “The collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/citizen_science). These collaborations are a great way for local scientists to engage the public in the scientific process, while gaining individuals to help with data collection and spreading environmental stewardship messages about the work they are doing.

The Science Education Team sent two representatives to this workshop on December 5th and 6th. The grounds of the Point Bonita YMCA were a beautiful setting for inspiring citizen science projects. Coyotes (Canis latrans), Grey Foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), Raccoons (Procyon lotor), and Black Tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) were all seen roaming through the campus. 

Three Black Tailed Deer grazing on an area of lawn next to a parking lot at the Point Bonita YMCA in Sausalito, CA.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – Black Tailed Deer graze on the edge of the parking area at the Point Bonita YMCA in Sausalito, CA.

The facilitators, Hannah Webber and Bill Zoellick, were from the Schoodic Institute and traveled from Maine to lead the workshop. They shared their expertise and guided the group through the two day workshop, which culminated in each individual and group presenting their citizen science project to invited experts in the field of citizen science, as well as the other workshop attendees.

Participants gained professional skills to apply citizen science opportunities in their work environments, skills to articulate the value proposition of their citizen science project, setting specific goals for the project, targeting project participants, the data collection options available, and how the data will be used by the stakeholders involved.

Looking East at sunrise from the Marin Headlands toward San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge in the middle of the picture.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – View of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise from the Marin Headlands.

One of the key takeaways from the workshop was the value of participants taking part in the whole of a citizen science project. These projects rely on the folks collecting the data and observations, and it is important to have them involved in how the project is conducted. This includes sharing the results of the data collected by the participants, patterns and trends that occur from their observations, and how this data can be used to help manage the resource being monitored. Participating in every step helps in the sustainability of a citizen science project, retention of volunteers/participants, and engagement of the wider community in environmental stewardship.

Looking South across the mouth of the San Francisco Bay toward the Sunset District of West San Francisco, the Point Bonita Lighthouse sits on the tip of the Marin Headlands above the rugged cliffs.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – View of the Point Bonita Lighthouse located on the Marin Headlands.

You will have your opportunity to add to the citizen science catalog in the New Year! Cabrillo National Monument will be conducting a Bioblitz in conjunction with the City Nature Challenge in San Diego on April 27, 2019 (http://citynaturechallenge.org/). Mark your calendars and download the app iNaturalist in preparation for your chance to participate in these upcoming events.

For more information on the Schoodic Intitute visit: https://www.schoodicinstitute.org/


 

Citizen Science, Schoodic Institute, Citizen Science Projects, Citizen Science Workshop, City Nature Challenge, Bioblitz



Last updated: December 19, 2018

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