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Kids, Citizen Science Participation, and Citizen Science Day

Monthly Letter from Greg Newman (CSA board chair)
to all CSA members
February 23, 2016 • Fort Collins, Colorado

— — —
Happy February!
Who can participate in citizen science and to what degree?
This is a question we get often and have discussed in many circles across the growing field of citizen science. From coffee shops in remote locales to academic reading groups in university settings, many have chimed in on this overarching question. Perhaps the question should be reprhased to: Who participates in citizen science and how? To me, the matter is not who can but who is and who does?
This brings me to kids.
I recently have been blessed with two newborn boys (fraternal twins) and wonder how I might get them involved. In a few years, they could help my wife and I measure rainfall amounts each morning in our CoCoRaHS rain gauge. Once a little older, they could monitor our lilac bush in our yard and yell excitedly to my wife and I when they see its first bud and report it to Project BudBurst. And they could – once old enough to tweet – tweet snow depths via SnowTweets.
This participation is simply participation in science by people. Whether such participation is by my kids, a scientist, my father, or anyone else, it still constitutes participation. And whether those participating do so by spending enormous amounts of time collaboratively working hand-in-hand with scientists in devising research questions and protocols, or instead do so by making a single observation made to any of the projects above, they all are still participating in citizen science in ways they can.
And this brings me to Citizen Science Day.
The CSA is excited to be sponsoring and coordinating a nationwide Citizen Science Day in conjunction with the White House forum, “Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People”. With support from SciStarter and in partnership with numerous national organizations, CSA will provide planning resources and promotional materials for sites around the country to host events and bring attention to citizen science impacts and participation opportunities. In doing so, we hope to broaden participation by everyone in citizen science and encourage you do the same. I for one will be thinking of creative ways my team at – an online citizen science support platform – can participate and foster more participation by even more people! Stay tuned on that front.
Happy scheming of ways you can participate,
Sincerely, Greg Newman

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