Just what is Citizen Science? Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education (FWCE) staff spend a lot of time training and supporting citizen volunteers and youth for active contributions to citizen science projects. But we find that our participants aren't always sure what these projects entail, or how these are connected to broader scientific study. In a new video on the University of Minnesota Extension YouTube Channel, we define what is Citizen Science, and how citizen scientific contributions are valuable for important conservation research projects. The short video focuses on the stories of Extension Specialists, Karen Oberhauser and Robert Blair. It is appropriate for youth and adult audiences.
Through our NSF-funded Driven to Discover: Enabling Authentic Inquiry Through Citizen Science project, FWCE staff are also exploring citizen science as a learning environment for youth scientific inquiry. In part, staff are conducting research to identify key factors that provoke authentic inquiry by youth/adult research teams using citizen science experiences. A handout Research Summary reports preliminary results of this research. In summary, we currently conceive citizen science as a rich environment for sparking science inquiry. The physical setting for the program, research team meeting structure and activities, and team characteristics are the roots from which authenticity and engagement grow into inquiry.
Visit the University of Minnesota Extension website to learn more about Citizen Science. Add a comment to this post to suggest additional information or resources to add to the site.