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Barnett, LoriAnne [1].

Empowering citizen science leaders with tools for robust community engagement.

Natural resource organizations, botanical gardens and arboreta, and institutes of higher education seek to use citizen science to connect the public with meaningful real-world experiences, related to critically important topics like climate change. From a phenology data standpoint, citizen science is most powerful when place-based observations are made via repeat visits to a geographic location. From an engagement standpoint, citizen science is most powerful when participants are able to observe, record, and understand change through time. Because of this, the USA National Phenology Network strives to find ways to engage committed leaders in developing sustainable monitoring programs designed to create an accurate and useable long-term dataset for their sites and provide participants with a place to observe phenological change throughout the seasons. This hands-on workshop, appropriate for anyone working with participants in an academic (formal education) or field-based (non-formal education) setting, will describe the innovative 60-hour online Nature’s Notebook (NN) Local Phenology Leader (LPL) Certification Course hosted by the USA National Phenology Network’s (USA-NPN) Education Program. The Course creates a Community of Practice successfully connecting educators and science practitioners and increases educator confidence in the field. It leads to an accurate National Phenology dataset and a vibrant local participant and volunteer corps able to work with many non-traditional audiences. LPL Certification draws on concepts outlined in NAAEE Guidelines for Excellence Series, including the Community Engagement Guide. Workshop participants will learn about: the Nature’s Notebook Citizen and Professional Science Project; the program planning process utilized in the Local Phenology Leader Certification Course; and explore the course deliverables designed to help course participants begin immediately using Nature's Notebook in their courses or field work. This workshop includes a rationale for implementing similar trainings, materials, and program planning guidance for other citizen science projects seeking site-based, long-term engagement of participants. The USA-NPN has hosted five online cohorts, certifying 83 individuals, representing 94 Local Phenology Programs. Certification Course evaluation data indicate 90% of participants report having valuable, useable deliverables; and 85% report the course helping them view using a citizen science program differently. Other impacts include opportunities to connect to county conservationists and other new community audiences; benefits for improving job scope and performance; how to use phenology in a climate change discussion; and a better understanding of effective methods for recruiting and managing volunteers.

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1 - University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources, 1311 E 4th Street, Suite 325, Tucson, AZ, 85721, USA

capacity building
environmental education
citizen science.

Presentation Type:
Session: W09, Empowering citizen science leaders with tools for robust community engagement
Location: San Xavier/Starr Pass
Date: Sunday, July 28th, 2019
Time: 10:00 AM
Number: W09001
Abstract ID:52
Candidate for Awards:None

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