“Inclusion in Citizen Science: The Conundrum of Rebranding” in Policy Forum of Science magazine: access reprint here.
(CLOSED) CALL: I invited individuals to affiliate with a new initiative called Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, Accessible, Large-scale (IDEAL) Participatory Science, funded by the National Science Foundation. If you are interested in learning more and/or being part of future the IDEAL participatory science initiative, please fill out this form.
The IDEAL Participatory Science initiative is in response to recognizing striking demographic limitations of large-scale citizen science projects: participants in the Global North tend to be white, highly educated, and affluent. Many of the people involved in this initiative were part of a Science paper that you can access in the reprint link above. Irrespective of whether you agree or disagree with the arguments we made in the paper, we believe that if you have a strong commitment to the principles of IDEA and their application to Large-scale participatory science (by whatever term you prefer to use), then you belong in the initiative.
The IDEAL Participatory Science initiative has worked towards the following aims.
Activity during 2022:
Aim 1. Create a framework to guide inclusive practices in large-scale participatory science projects
With a team of 20 people meeting weekly in a combination of subgroups, we drafted the IDEAL Handbook to guide practitioners.
Product 1: Disseminate the framework in the form of a publication (forthcoming)
Product 2: Disseminate the framework in the form of an online, self-guided tutorial (forthcoming)
Aim 2. Sustain the use, assessment, and iterative improvement of the framework
Activity during 2023: pilot-test the IDEAL Handbook with the leadership teams of some participatory science projects
If you are interested in learning more and/or being part of the IDEAL participatory science initiative, please fill out this form. Although the organizing committee is based in the US, involvement is not limited to US citizens or residents.
I enjoy the interdisciplinary approaches of ecological and social science research together, with a lens of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). Current projects and topics of interest to me include:
Design in the Participatory Sciences
The participatory sciences includes what’s currently known as citizen science, the engagement of geographically distributed people sharing observations in a central place in pursuit of shared goals of scientific discovery. Citizen science can be designed to produce new knowledge and simultaneously create a range of socially relevant outcomes, such as increases in science literacy, community empowerment, heightened civic activism, and more. With funds from NSF, we collaborate with SciStarter.org to investigate and support a growing community of citizen scientists and project owners. Current students are investigating participant demographics, motivations, and learning with SciQuest, a project to track one’s own journey in citizen science. We are investigating the barriers to have resulted in a lack of racial, economic, and educational diversity among participants and beneficiaries of citizen science.
Inclusion in citizen science: The conundrum of rebranding (2021) – Science (as highlighted above)
Advice for Collaborations between Natural and Social Scientists: A Response to Martin (2020) – BioScience
The Field Guide to Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference (2020) – Timber Press
The diverse motivations of citizen scientists: Does conservation emphasis grow as volunteer participation progresses? (2020)
Do birdwatchers buy the duck stamp? (2019)
The problem with delineating narrow criteria for citizen science (2019) – PNAS
The role of citizen science in addressing grand challenges in food and agriculture research (2018)
Contrasting the views and actions of data collectors and data consumers in a volunteer water quality monitoring project: implications for project design and management (2017)
Scistarter 2.0: A digital platform to foster and study sustained engagement in citizen science (2017)
Citizen science terminology matters: Exploring key terms (2017)
Citizen science: How ordinary people are changing the face of discovery (2016)
The theory and practice of citizen science: Launching a new journal (2016)
The tragedy of the unexamined cat: Why K–12 and university education are still in the dark ages and how citizen science allows for a Renaissance (2016)
Two meanings of citizen science (2016)
Are wildlife recreationists conservationists? Linking hunting, birdwatching, and pro‐environmental behavior (2015)
Ecology of Lightscapes and Soundscapes
Artificial light at night and anthropogenic sounds are features of the landscape that novel selection pressures and drivers of ecological processes. In collaboration with the National Parks Service’s Dark Skies and Natural Sounds division, we developed Sound Around Town, a citizen science project focused on understanding residential soundscapes and human perceptions of noise. Current students investigate links between noise and light pollution and avian survival and how breeding songbirds overcome the physiological stresses of night lighting. We are also studying the role of historic and contemporary racial segregation of inequities in exposures to light and noise pollution.
How can citizen science advance environmental justice? Exploring the noise paradox through sense of place (2020) – Cities & Health
Sensory pollutants alter bird phenology and fitness across a continent (2020) – Nature
Acoustic environments matter: Synergistic benefits to humans and ecological communities (2017)
A framework to assess evolutionary responses to anthropogenic light and sound (2015)
Norms of Data Ethics in Citizen Science
Volunteer-generated data are the foundation of citizen science practice. With funds from the National Science Foundation, and in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association, we are co-creating tools and resources to create and sustain norms of trustworthy data practices for the field of citizen science. We are also studying the attitudes, norms, barriers, and intentions of practitioners towards data stewardship practices.
The power (dynamics) of open data in citizen science (2021)
The critical importance of citizen science data (2021)
Project Categories to Guide Institutional Oversight of Responsible Conduct of Scientists Leading Citizen Science in the United States (2019)
Avian Incubation Behavior and Physiology
I worked for almost 15 years at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where I focused latitudinal and seasonal trends in avian life histories and behavior. One particular interest has been avian incubation, which is one of the energetically demanding phases of reproduction. I continue this work with international collaborators.
Deconstructing incubation behaviour in response to ambient temperature over different timescales (2021)– Journal of Avian Biology
Night conditions affect morning incubation behaviour differently across a latitudinal gradient (2020)– Ibis
‘Green incubation’: avian offspring benefit from aromatic nest herbs through improved parental incubation behaviour (2018) – Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Managing human-wildlife conflict
The Sparrow Swap is a citizen science project designed to help bird watchers minimize damage of invasive house sparrow on native cavity-nest species. Sparrow Swap also provides a small, tractable study system in which to investigate a highly contentious (among birdwatchers) area of human-wildlife conflict. We are using ecological, social science, and citizen science approaches to carry out research to understand the potential of citizen science design to manage sparrows within a social-ecological system. Lessons learned will be relevant to other human-wildlife conflict such as with feral hogs, suburban deer, coyotes and wolves, pet cats, urban geese, and more.
Does the house sparrow Passer domesticus represent a global model species for egg rejection behavior? (2017)
Emotions as drivers of wildlife stewardship behavior: Examining citizen science nest monitors’ responses to invasive house sparrows (2016)
Avian eggs as bioindicators of contaminants
The Sparrow Swap project involved volunteers across the country in donating house sparrow eggs to the Collections at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. These eggs are a remarkable resource for investigations into the evolution of egg characteristics as well as their use as bioindicators. We are assessing whether certain eggshell characteristics (color, patterning, thickness, porosity, etc) are related to certain contaminant levels within the egg.
work in prep