Washington, D.C. (March 23rd, 2015)– Citizen science received some high level attention today when plans were unveiled to install a new rain gauge in the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden.
This rain gauge represents far more than just a Pennsylvania Avenue data point for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS), a citizen science network of over 20,000 active participants who serve as the largest source of daily precipitation data in the United States. Announced in conjunction with the White House Science Fair, this commitment points to high-level recognition of citizen science as a powerful platform for science education.
CoCoRaHS founder, Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken, was on hand for the White House Science Fair. Doesken, also a member of the Citizen Science Association Board of Directors, says: “This fair clearly shows how the youth of our national are exploring the frontiers of science. But people of all ages and backgrounds are also helping advance scientific research, education and discovery. Today, opportunities abound for any of us to be “citizen scientists” — contributing through our own back yard and neighborhood observations or helping scientists analyze and interpret complex systems. There are so many opportunities and they help make science very real and relevant.”
The Citizen Science Association (CSA) is leading the charge to support excellence in education through citizen science. As outlined in a document released today by the White House, CSA is creating resources to help citizen science projects excel at supporting education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“Citizen science represents a transformative opportunity for both formal and informal science education,” says Sarah Kirn, from Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Co-Chair of CSA’s Education Working Group. “Through citizen science, educators have the opportunity to design experiences that immerse learners in the practices, concepts, and knowledge of science, but these experiences must be carefully constructed to achieve both scientific and learning outcomes.”
To this end, the CSA will work over the coming year to highlight projects representing exemplary practices in education through real-world research. CSA will also work with SciStarter to align 500 projects with standards for educational practices in science and engineering.
- Work by 17-year old Tiye Garrett-Mills, a Teen Science Scholar at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, to develop low-cost instrumentation for leaf vein scanning and identification
- Commitments by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to distribute Quest materials to help 4th graders and their families use eBird to connect to nature as part of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park
- An announcement of a new Citizen Science Tool lending library organized by SciStarter and Public Lab
- The National Ecological Observatory Network’s “Project BudBurst” will offer a new online course to support citizen science at wildlife refuges
- Esri will release a free open crowdsourcing app designed to help teachers, students, and youth groups easily create their own projects, report observations, and explore them on a dynamic map
Everyone is also encouraged to add their own young scientists’ citizen science projects to the White House Science Fair map: https://crowdsource.storymaps.esri.com/stories/science-fair
President Obama, commenting on the White House Science Fair, said: “There’s a reason so many young people love science. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, and it helps us solve the mysteries of our world. I want more boys and girls across America to get the chance to study science, technology, engineering and math – and maybe have the opportunity to go on to careers in those fields, too. So I’m glad so many organizations are stepping up to support STEM education. When we invest in our young people, we invest in our future.”
Want to get involved?
- To find a project to participate in, check out a list of over 1000 projects on SciStarter.
- To help advance education through citizen science, consider joining (for free) the Citizen Science Association.
Today’s event will be livestreamed, beginning at approximately 10am: www.whitehouse.gov/live
Follow on Twitter: #WHScienceFair