In just a couple of years, Global Citizen Science Month (April) has grown from a single day of events, to a coordinated effort supported by SciStarter, the National Library of Medicine, Arizona State University, the Citizen Science Association, Science Friday, National Geographic and many other collaborators from around the world. Global Citizen Science Month encompasses online events and opportunities to contribute to projects from home. And April 2021 is just around the corner! It’s time to prepare. Learn more about this in a recent blog post and in the Citizen Science Month Welcome Letter.
One way you can contribute to the success of Citizen Science Month is joining the CSA working group! The purpose of the working group is to provide resources for CSA members and citizen science practitioners to celebrate and promote all things citizen science-related at their organizations. The work of the Citizen Science Month Working Group is done in collaboration with SciStarter and the Citizen Science Association. The working group will meet monthly, support webinars for practitioners in January and February to prepare for April and then celebrate during the actual month (April 2021). Caroline Nickerson from SciStarter and Vivienne Byrd of the Los Angeles Public Library are the co-chairs of the CSA CitSciMonth Working Group.
Join the working group by filling out a Google Form. The group will meet monthly on the third Thursday for approximately thirty minutes. The first working group meeting with the new chairs will be on December 17 at 11:30 AM ET.
Some of the central ideas of the working group include:
- Raising awareness of citizen science and facilitating public engagement with citizen science projects.
- Providing a platform to connect practitioners and non-scientists/public who are interested in taking part in citizen science.
- Serving as the gateway to experience and learn the fundamentals and the power of citizen science.
Expectations of working group members include:
- Assisting with training/webinar planning and facilitation throughout the year leading up to the annual Global CitSci Month.
- Assisting with improving access and equity of citizen science (e.g., translation of materials, hosting programs in different languages, encouraging participation in the underrepresented communities, etc.) – make it truly global!
- Assist with developing strategies and techniques (provide feedback to practitioners) to help lower the barriers to entry.
- Leveraging the resources on SciStarter to spread the word about citizen science: CitizenScienceMonth.org
- Brainstorming strategies to expand partnerships and facilitate connections between practitioners and volunteers (so practitioners can hear feedback from volunteers and/or help volunteers/communities who could benefit from their projects for social justice or improving their health and wellbeing):
- Schools, museums, NGOs, corporations, libraries are pivotal in this work
- Sharing citizen science program experiences, feedback, input, updates gearing towards non-scientific communities/general public/students, etc.
We already have some concrete calls to action to put this in place!
- During our December meeting, we will discuss submitting a workshop to the CitSciVirtual conference: https://participatorysciences.org/events/conferences/citscivirtual/workshops/
- We’re hosting a webinar in January to prepare the practitioner community for Citizen Science Month in April! Join Caroline and Vivienne, the co-chairs of the Working Group, on January 11 at Noon ET. RSVP.
- Then, in February, Caroline and Vivienne are facilitating another webinar, but passing the mic to the members of the working group for a panel-style discussion about access, equity, and thoughtful planning for Citizen Science Month 2021. The date/time and speakers will be decided after a vote from the working group.
After that, we ask individual members of the group to plan events in April! They can add events for the general public to discover on SciStarter, using Citizen Science Month partner resources: CitizenScienceMonth.org/Resources
About the Co-Chairs
As Librarian III/STEAM Librarian in the Exploration and Creativity Department at the Los Angeles Public Library, Vivienne Byrd has led programs like the DTLA Maker Faire and the Neighborhood Science program. She also serves as a Climate Reality Leader for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.
Caroline Nickerson is a Program Manager at SciStarter where she manages the Citizen Science Month Program, SciStarter’s Corporate Volunteer Programs, and other programmatic and outreach efforts, including working with SciStarter’s Syndicated Blog Network, which encompasses the Science Connected, Discover Magazine, and SciStarter platforms. She is a Master of Public Policy graduate from American University with a focus on environmental and climate change policy. She is also affiliated with the UF-VA UNESCO Bioethics Unit, the Christensen Project, the DC Gator Club, and the Commission on Local Debates. Caroline is a William K. Reilly Environmental Policy Scholar and was the 2019 Cherry Blossom Princess representing the state of Florida. She is currently Miss Louisiana Earth 2020.