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• 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
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
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
Field notes from the homeSampling kits, SUPER-samplersShare data, CrowdsourceanalysisOnline engagement, Process inreal time
Notes from Science Online 2012 by Perrin Ireland
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?
Outreach Challenges EVALUATION• Assessing impact and outcomes in a meaningful way• Benchmarks of success?