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Citizen Science & Wild Life of Our Homes

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Presentation from the Jan 23-24 Citizen Microbiology meeting, hosted by MicroBEnet @ UC Davis

Presentation from the Jan 23-24 Citizen Microbiology meeting, hosted by MicroBEnet @ UC Davis

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  • Our flagship project is the Wild Life of Our Homes
  • Understandingscience.org
  • Crowdsourcing data, writing paper in real time – trying to think outside the box
  • ScienceScribe notes from Science Online 2012TransparencyMore than just data collectionImportance of narrative, story-tellingKnowing your audienceBarriers to participations – Web access, Underrepresented groupsScience Art collaboration
  • Our study was motivated first by the science


  • 1. Citizen Microbiology Meeting UC Davis – Jan 23, 2012 Holly Menninger Director of Public Science Your Wild Life Program NC State Universityholly.menninger@gmail.com | @DrHolly
  • 2. Belly Button Biodiversity http://www.yourwildlife.org
  • 3. Belly Button Biodiversity http://www.yourwildlife.org
  • 4. • Excite audiences about microbial diversity found all around us• Engage participants in the scientific process of exploring, understanding, and testing hypotheses about microbial ecology – Changes with lifestyle (rural to urban) – Climate
  • 5. Our Approach• Citizen science – But going beyond data collection – Process of science – Long-term engagement• Collaboration: Citizen scientists, researchers, science communicators• Impact: Widespread (but shallow) vs. Few (deep) – Defining our audience
  • 6. Understandingscience.org
  • 7. Toolbox• Yourwildlife.org (re-design) – Blog – posts by collaborators – Data visualization/Science Art – Interactive components• eNewsletter – Regular communication with participants (Follow-up) – Built-in survey tools• Social media – Twitter, Google+ (hangouts to discuss data), Facebook• Multi-media – Podcasts, videos – Process of science, meet the people behind the science, science “stories”• Live events – e.g. NC Museum of Natural Sciences NRC
  • 8. Field notes from the homeSampling kits, SUPER-samplersShare data, CrowdsourceanalysisOnline engagement, Process inreal time
  • 9. Notes from Science Online 2012 by Perrin Ireland
  • 10. Outreach Challenges• Sampling logistics – Assembly, data management, follow-through – Participant contribution• Sustaining engagement – Particularly in light of logistical challenges – Web tools that promote interaction• Visualizing microbes/data – How do you get people interested/excited about things they can’t see? – Interesting visual ways to communicate results?
  • 11. Outreach Challenges EVALUATION• Assessing impact and outcomes in a meaningful way• Benchmarks of success?