All About Birds Blog

Launching a Global Network of Citizen-Science Practitioners

By on Monday, February 17th, 2014 - 8 Comments

Tree Swallow in nest box by Jason Means

A brand-new group called the Citizen Science Association (CSA) is taking shape in response to the growing number of citizen science endeavors around the world. Citizen-science data are gathered by massive numbers of volunteers on many topics, including fish, birds, weather, stars, health, and others—and they’re important for studies in many scientific disciplines.

The CSA is a global community of practice focused on public participation in science. It is offering free inaugural membership for 2014.  The CSA recognizes all forms of citizen science and focuses on building the community of practice involving those who organize volunteers. Whether organizers are scientists, educators, data managers, technology specialists, evaluators, or volunteers, the CSA welcomes those who want to benefit from a network based on the diverse practices of citizen science. The announcement was made February 16, 2014, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) convention in Chicago.

“The information gathered by everyday people has brought scientific findings to light,” says Dr. Caren Cooper, a researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and presenter at the AAAS meeting. “Without data from the public, scientists might not have learned that birds are breeding earlier in response to climate change, that leaf decomposition is greater at forest edges, or that the human navel contains an enormous diversity of microbial life.”

“The Citizen Science Association fills an important role in shaping a community of practice that can support local, regional, and global citizen science by providing a platform for leadership, networking, and resources,” says Dr. Abe Miller-Rushing, a scientist with the National Park Service and chair of the CSA steering committee.

Support to begin the Citizen Science Association with free inaugural membership has been provided by several leading organizations, including National Geographic, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE), the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Schoodic Institute, and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).

Citizen Science Association is inspired by a vision of a world where people understand, value, and participate in science. To increase the growth and quality of citizen science projects around the globe, the CSA mission is to foster communication, collaboration, and professional development in citizen science.

“The inaugural members will be essential for building the capacity of the CSA and will play key roles in both shaping the association and supporting its goal to advance the field of citizen science,” says steering committee member Dr. John Tweddle from the Natural History Museum in London. Inaugural members will have the opportunity to serve on CSA committees and working groups to shape and build the organization, as well as vote for the CSA Board of Directors and other officers.

To take the next steps in forming the CSA structure, the group’s website is hosting an anonymous survey, gathering information about the diverse needs, interests, and expertise within the community. Those who take the survey can opt to join the CSA and take advantage of the free inaugural membership.

Find out more information about the Citizen Science Association and receive a complimentary membership.

(Photo: Tree Swallow by Jason Means via Birdshare.)

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8 Comments

  1. Pingback: A New Initiative in Support of Citizen Science | BirdingDaily

  2. CLAIRE TOFT says:

    THIS NEW JERSEY WINTER HAS BROUGHT MANY MORE BIRDS TO MY FEEDER AND I HAVE SPENT MORE ON DIFFERENT SEEDS AND SUET. I HAVE HAD GREAT PLEASURE WATCHING THE DANCES AND LINEUPS AT THE FEEDER ON MY DECK. GOT A BETTER CLOSEUP THIS YEAR THAN EVER BEFORE. LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE WATCHING WITH GLASSES AT THE ONES IN THE TREES AND IN THE DISTANCE. THANKS CORNELL LAB FOR HELPING ME SEE MORE OF WHAT I AM LOOKING AT. SOMETIMES I ALMOST HEAR THEM CALLING IF I AM LATE FILLING THE FEEDERS.

    COUNT ME IN FOR THE CITIZENS SCIENCE MEMBERSHIP

  3. Maria A. Crawford says:

    B.S ornamental Horticulture university of Illinois 1989
    Avid gardener since then, amateur bird misc. wildlife & weather watcher on a daily basis.
    Elementary school substitute teacher

  4. ADEDEJI SAMUEL ADENIYI says:

    LIKE TO BE A PARTNER

  5. ADEDEJI SAMUEL ADENIYI says:

    LIKE TO BE A MEMBER

  6. Retired Nurse Director of College Health. I support your Vision. I live on a salt marsh on Barnegat Bay on a wooded property – lots of birds at my feeder and swan pair nesting on marsh. I spend days at the ocean.

  7. Pingback: GBBC…sigh | Now We Are Birders...

  8. Beth Miller says:

    Great idea! I am an amateur photographer and avid bird watcher. I would be delighted to join. Thank you!

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