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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 – ...

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 Engaging the public in scientific research for conservation Presentation Transcript

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