Engaging the public in scientific research for conservation


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Public participation in scientific research (PPSR) refers to initiatives in which the public is involved in one or more phases of scientific research – from defining questions to using results – and encompasses citizen science, participatory monitoring, community science, and a variety of other endeavors and approaches. PPSR offers significant opportunities for conservation by addressing the increasing demand for information and the need for action, from identifying species at risk, to interpreting data for policy and management, to increasing public understanding and stewardship of the natural environment. For such research partnerships to advance goals for all involved, it is essential to better understand factors that influence specific outcomes and impacts. Conservation scientists and practitioners, resource managers, academics, community and project leaders, educators, land stewards, and others gathered to discuss key issues for PPSR in relation to conservation goals at a workshop at the American Museum of Natural History in April 2011.

This group identified key challenges, facilitating factors, and best practices for PPSR to have greater relevance for conservation questions and outcomes, including generating data that is relevant and meaningful, reaching and engaging new audiences, and implementing processes that integrate conventional science and other forms of knowledge. This paper will present tools and recommendations derived from the workshop that contribute to advancing the field of PPSR by addressing science, education, and conservation goals.

This talk was presented at the 2011 meetings of the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (Madison, WI) and the Ecological Society of America (Austin, TX).

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Engaging the public in scientific research for conservation

  1. 1. Engaging the Public in Scientific Research for Conservation<br />B2M Productions/ Getty Images, Ramsey Blacklock/ Istock, Jeroen Peys/ Istock, seattleaquarium.org<br />Meg Domroesea, Jennifer Shirkb, Rick Bonneyb, Heidi Ballardd, Eleanor Sterlinga, Judy Brausc, Anne Toomeya, Robert Pettyc, Felicity Arengoa<br />a Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History<br />bCornell Lab of Ornithology<br />c National Audubon Society<br />dUniversity of California, Davis<br />Based on presentations made at the 2011 meetings of the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (Madison, WI) and the Ecological Society of America (Austin, TX)<br />
  2. 2. How can public participation in scientific research (PPSR) bridge science and practice for conservation? <br />Challenges and opportunities for science, education, and conservation aims<br />Workshop participant experiences and perspectives<br />Key issues and next steps<br />www.monitoringmatters.org<br />
  3. 3. engaging<br />discussion<br />data<br />role<br />students<br />science<br />learning<br />and<br />biodiversity<br />for<br />projects<br />working<br />stewardship<br />members<br />conservation:<br />policy<br />relevance<br />credibility<br />citizenship<br />global<br />public<br />identity<br />tools<br />scientists<br />participation<br />community<br />environmental<br />in<br />scientific<br />groups<br />potential<br />networks<br />strategies<br />local<br />research<br />empowerment<br />PPSR<br />understanding<br />A workshop held at the American Museum of Natural History, April 7th-8th, 2011.<br />
  4. 4. Challenges and Opportunities<br />Scientific Debate<br />Learning<br />Translating into Conservation<br />
  5. 5.
  6. 6. Multiple Approaches<br />Contributory<br />Collaborative<br />Co-Created<br />Define a question/issue<br />Gather information<br />Develop explanations<br />Design data collection methods<br />Collect samples<br />Analyze samples<br />Analyze data<br />Interpret data/conclude<br />Disseminate conclusions<br />Discuss results/inquire further<br />Bonney et al. 2009. Public Participation in Scientific Research: Defining the Field and Assessing its Potential for Informal Science Education. caise.insci.org/resources<br />
  7. 7. CASE: Monarch Larva Monitoring Project<br />Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota, Dept of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Extension Service<br />Collect long-term data on egg and larva abundance and milkweed habitat to improve understanding of breeding monarch distribution and abundance<br />
  8. 8. Conservation Outcomes <br />Volunteer Activities<br />Land stewardship<br />Outreach and education<br />Environmental advocacy<br />Data value<br /><ul><li>Impact of human activities on species, species assemblages, or populations
  9. 9. Identify need for and success of conservation efforts</li></ul>Photo by MLMP volunteer Denny Brooks<br />
  10. 10. CASE: Ndee Bini’bida’ilzaahiPictures of Apache Land<br />1957<br />Jonathan Long, US Forest Service <br />Build community capacity to restore culturally and ecological important places using traditional knowledge and science<br />2005<br />
  11. 11. Conservation Outcomes<br />Greater community ownership of ecological information and science process<br /><ul><li>Better monitoring and more restoration treatments on community lands</li></li></ul><li>Participants and Leaders 2009<br />All but 1 still in high school or attending college<br />2000 Census of adults over 25 years old:25% high school degree 7% with college degree<br />
  12. 12. Key Issues and Directions<br />Participant engagement <br /><ul><li>Learning for empowerment
  13. 13. Diversity and inclusiveness
  14. 14. Integration of local, lay and traditional knowledges
  15. 15. Incorporation of conservation action</li></ul>Kevin Frey, AMNH-CBC<br />
  16. 16. Next Big Directions for the Field<br />Citizen Science Central (citizenscience.org)<br />PPSR module for Tools of Engagement<br />audubon.org/toolkit<br />citizenscience.org<br />
  17. 17. Next Big Directions for the Field<br />Developing and testing assessment instruments for PPSR <br />Best practices for PPSR data management<br />
  18. 18. Next Big Directions for the Field<br />Professional association for PPSR<br />Kevin Frey, AMNH-CBC<br />
  19. 19. Acknowledgments<br />Fiona Brady, Andres Gomez, <br />Karen Oberhauser, Jonathan Long, and all of the workshop participants<br />Please join the network!<br />Contact<br />cscentral@cornell.edu<br />
  20. 20. Resources<br />Citizen Science Central<br />toolkit, project database, community forum, and more<br />citizenscience.org<br />citizenscience.org/ conference/ppsr2011<br />CAISE inquiry group report, Public Participation in Scientific Research, Bonney et al. 2009caise.insci.org/resources<br />Proceedings of 2007 Citizen Science Toolkit Conference, McEver et al. 2007 citizenscience.org/conference/toolkitconference/presentations<br />Tools of Engagement audubon.org/toolkit<br />Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, AMNH cbc.amnh.org<br />