Calling Inquiring Minds: Citizen Science Association Hosts 2015 Conference

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Opportunities for learning, networking, and connecting are the focus of the upcoming Citizen Science 2015 conference. This Citizen Science Association event will take place Feb. 11-12 in San Jose, California. Participants on every side of citizen science, from research coordination to volunteering, are invited to join the conversation.

Birdwatchers pioneered the phenomenon of ‰Û÷citizen science,‰Ûª greatly extending the reach of professional scientists in the field. Image Credit: Steve Hillebrand, Public Domain Images

Birdwatchers pioneered the phenomenon of ‰Û÷citizen science,‰Ûª greatly extending the reach of professional scientists in the field. Image Credit: Steve Hillebrand, Public Domain Images

Aided by the rapid increase in technology capacity and availability, citizen science has seen a surge over the last decade. In 2012, a Public Participation in Scientific Research Conference in Portland, Oregon, helped collect the thoughts and goals of avid participants in citizen science and spawned the concept of creating an association to further such conversations. The result is the nascent Citizen Science Association.

The vision of the Citizen Science Association is to foster widespread, global appreciation of and participation in science in a cross-disciplinary way. Those interested in membership can join the association for free. Plans for governance of the association and election of the first board of directors are still in process.

As part of this, Citizen Science 2015 (CitSci2015) is to be held Feb. 11-12 in San Jose, California. The event is a pre-conference associated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2015 Annual Meeting held the following week, but it also has its own agenda.

The CitSci2015 conference has identified six key themes for discussion:

  • Tackling Grand Challengers and Everyday Problems with Citizen Science
  • Broadening Engagement to Foster Diversity and Inclusion
  • Making Education and Lifelong Learning Connections
  • Digital Opportunities and Challenges in Citizen Science
  • Research on and Evaluation of the Citizen Science Experience
  • Best Practices for Designing, Implementing, and Managing Citizen Science Projects and Programs.

 

Dr. Chris Filardi, director of the Pacific Program at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History will be the keynote speaker for the conference. Filardi will discuss the potential of citizen science to extend a broader impact on the world.

The event will also include an opportunity to directly practice citizen science. The second day of the event features a BioBlitz to be held in downtown San Jose. The BioBlitz is a commonly applied form of citizen science, where trained volunteers spend a set amount of time scouring a designated area to record every species found in the area. This data can then be used for scientific research or general interest.

CitSci2015 hopes to attract a broad range of participants. Researchers, project coordinators, volunteers, educators, and other interested members of the public are invited to join the conversation.

Registration for the event and more information can be found on the Citizen Science Association website.