Blog Post

Recap: Florida Meeting for Advancing Participatory Sciences

Florida MAPS attendees lined up on stairs at Ringling Museum.

Practitioners from across the state of Florida gathered in Sarasota on April 12th for a day of recognizing opportunities, showcasing excellence, and envisioning new partnerships in support of high-impact participatory sciences. The event featured two plenary panels and short talks from nine different Florida projects highlighting lessons learned and outcomes of participatory science projects from across the state. The agenda for the day and speaker list is available here with expanded details, slides, and additional photos available in the Florida Group on AAPS Connect.

Plenary panels addressed building partnerships in two different contexts. A fishbowl panel with Florida extension specialists, Girl Scout leaders, and an Audubon project manager illustrated the opportunities and challenges of partnering with facilitator organizations to reach broader audiences. A second plenary panel with representatives from two state agencies and a researcher with the University of Florida explored some of the barriers and potential solutions to creating more support for participatory science projects within state agencies.

(clockwise from top left): Sharon Tatem, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Katherine Rose, Florida Sea Grant; Caroline Nickerson, SciStarter; Beth Brady, Save the Manatee Club;  Samantha Lowe, University of Florida
(clockwise from top left): Sharon Tatem, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Katherine Rose, Florida Sea Grant; Caroline Nickerson, SciStarter; Beth Brady, Save the Manatee Club; Samantha Lowe, University of Florida

The nine lightning talks featured a wide range of projects from across the state, including several with decades of experience engaging the public in research and monitoring efforts across the state. Speakers outlined project successes and challenges and provided insights into what it takes to make projects like this work. 

Facilitated discussions were an opportunity for attendees to discuss common practices that make this work successful. Attendees could join one of three small breakout groups to discuss topics including: engaging volunteers; managing data; and engaging stakeholders/communicating results. These small group sessions provided a unique opportunity for everyone in the room to share and identify common challenges and opportunities.

We ended the day with a visioning session where participants shared their ideas for a future Florida participatory science network. We invite anyone working in Florida to join future conversations about advancing participatory sciences in Florida to join a new group on AAPS Connect for continued conversation.

The meeting was held at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. In addition to an extensive art collection and unique historic home, the Ringling Museum is also a Level II arboretum complete with unique species and beautiful gardens that participants got to explore over lunch. We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Ringling Museum in hosting this event in this space.


If you are interested in seeing a regional event like this come to your area, please check out the regional event support available through AAPS.

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