Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
Blrm A, Albuquerque Convention Center
SS 18 - Public Participation in Research (i.e., Citizen Science) and Ecological Literacy: Future Directions
Ecosystem conservation and sustainability has become one of the most important challenges of our time. Dealing with this challenge requires public and political participation as well as an understanding of ecological change over space and time. We propose to host a discussion with ecologists from a number of fields to create a research agenda that will help to establish best practices in promoting key aspects of ecological literacy through projects that engage the public in research. The rapid development of public participation in research (i.e., citizen science) programming over the past 15 years has provided a wealth of opportunity for ecologists to engage the public in their research. Many citizen science projects are developed with the assumption that individual participants are developing their ecological literacy through participation. We need to examine the evidence, however, to validate this assumption and to isolate key issues for future research. The goal of our special session will be to build on the momentum of the 2008 meeting in which ecologists met on several occasions to discuss citizen science. Based on key issues identified in the 2008 sessions, we intend to discuss: (1) understanding learning in public audiences with respect to ecological research; (2) outcomes of ecological learning with respect to personal and civic action; and (3) best practices by which ecologists can meet the dual goals of generating a scientifically valid data-set while promoting public participation in ecology. This research agenda will be disseminated through a public participation in research online community (
Organizer:Rebecca Jordan, Rutgers University
Co-organizers:Rick Bonney, Cornell University
Jennifer Shirk, Cornell University
Heidi L. Ballard, University of California, Davis
Julie A. Reynolds, Duke University
Cathlyn Stylinski, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

See more of Special Session

See more of The 94th ESA Annual Meeting (August 2 -- 7, 2009)