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).