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Museum Promotes Citizen Science Program at 2017 Citizen Science Association Conference

June 28, 2017

CSA 2017 LogoThe 2017 Citizen Science Association biannual conference took place in St. Paul, MN in mid-May and brought together hundreds of citizen science practitioners from around the world.  The conference program included two excellent keynote addresses, a citizen science project slam, a wealth of informative workshops, a bioblitz, dozens of great talks and symposia, and the first conference-sponsored citizen science festival with the local host organization, the Science Museum of Minnesota.

As with the previous conference, your Museum was well represented!  Some highlights:

Dr. Caren Cooper discusses citizen science with another CSA attendee. Photo by Marilu Lopez Fretts.

Dr. Caren Cooper (assistant head of the Biodiversity Research Lab, professor at NCSU, and Director of Research Partnerships for SciStarter) was busy from beginning to end.  She was a co-leader for a pre-conference workshop on SciStarter 2.0 tools, a project slam presenter, a symposium organizer, and presented her Sparrow Swap and Sound Around Town projects at the public Citizen Science Festival.  She was a part of the Meet the Authors program, a program led by Minnesota Public Radio featuring interviews with three authors of recent books about citizen science.  Caren’s book, Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery, was one of the books featured during the program.  Caren was also one of the three project slam presenters voted on by conference attendees to present at the public event, A Night in the Cloud, which brought people from outside the conference in to learn more about citizen science and how they can get involved.

Goforth and Hogue

Chris Goforth (left) and Gabriela Hogue (right) in front of their poster about CitSciScribe. Photo by Gabriela Hogue.

Chris Goforth (head of citizen science for the Museum) co-presented a poster with Gabriela Hogue (more about that below), presented on the educational benefits of her statewide Dragonfly Detectives afterschool/summer educational program, and shared her Dragonfly Swarm Project with conference attendees and the public during the A Night in the Cloud event.

Gabriela Hogue (collections manager of fishes) co-presented a poster focused on CitSciScribe, the Museum’s data transcription citizen science project.  Gabriela is the principal investigator of the NSF grant that funds CitSciScribe, as well as work being done in the fishes and reptile and amphibian collections, and attended the Citizen Science Association conference for the first time this year.

Kays and Shuttler

Dr. Roland Kays (left) and Dr. Stephanie Schuttler (right) discuss their work with eMammal during the conference. Photo by Marilu Lopez Fretts.

Dr. Roland Kays (head of Biodiversity Research Lab and professor at NCSU) presented two posters based on his eMammal camera trap project.  One examined mammals along the urban-rural gradient to see how they respond to our changing world and the other focused on Candid Critters, the North Carolina focused citizen science camera trap project he heads.  He also presented on the successful library-citizen science partnerships he’s developed through Candid Critters.

Dr. Stephanie Schuttler (postdoc in Biodiversity Research Lab for Students Discover project) presented on whether participation in citizen science can shift attitudes.  This is a question many citizen science practitioners are interested in answering, so Stephanie’s presentation was well received.

Museum partners and collaborators, including the Public Science Cluster at NCSU, former Students Discover postdocs, former Student Discover middle school teachers, and staff from the North Carolina Arboretum, also attended and offered several posters and presentations.

Overall, the Museum, the Triangle Area, and North Carolina as a whole were very well represented at the conference!  Our visible contribution to the conference and attendance can only help for the next Citizen Science Association conference: we’re hosting!  This amazing opportunity for networking and collaboration, chances to learn together, and public interaction with citizen science project leaders worldwide is coming to Raleigh in March 2019.  We’re already starting to plan our parts of the conference and will incorporate the lessons learned from CSA 2017 to make CSA 2019 their best conference yet!

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