YYC’S YOUNG CITIZEN SCIENTISTSCategory: 2017, Community Grant, Current, Grant, Land Use
Citizen science is scientific research conducted by nonscientists. Research projects around the world rely on firsthand observation from participants to collect widespread data. The scientific community uses the collected data to monitor the changes in natural processes and promote habitat and biodiversity conservation. Citizen science projects contribute to a worldwide body of knowledge, make scientific literacy more widespread and promote science as a way to understand the changes that are happening around us.
The main problem is that citizen science, while well documented, is not something that school children in Calgary are exposed to regularly or that they’ve been provided with instruction (whether formally or informally). Most often, citizen science has been engaged by nonprofit groups and researchers in projects of very specific interest who rely on the participants themselves to learn how to properly collect and submit their observations.
This project consists of researching existing citizen science projects that explore the changes in local ecosystems. Green Calgary will select the most relevant ones for Calgary students living in an urban environment and then develop a citizen science curriculum specially tailored to Calgary students ages 8 to 14. Project delivery will happen in two stages. The first stage will be a pilot with a group from the Boys & Girls Club and in partnership with Canadian Parks & Wilderness (CPAWS). Green Calgary will show youth how to record observations, organize a field trip guided by CPAWS where Green Calgary will accompany them to observe nature and then assist participants in submitting their observations to one of the chosen databases.
The second stage will be the launch to local schools and is still in development. Green Calgary’s goal is to make citizen science more common among Calgary youth, invite students to explore how scientist might use the collected data to monitor the changes in biodiversity and habitats, develop scientific research skills among our project participants and encourage our youngest citizens to become environmentally conscious scientists and conservationists.