Last month, JHWF’s Executive and Associate Directors attended the biannual meeting of the Citizen Science Association (CSA) in St. Paul, MN. The CSA aims to bring together the expertise of diverse practitioners working in the field of citizen science, to share the breadth of resources and best practices found throughout the field. Only a few years old, CSA’s membership already exceeds 4,000 individuals from over 80 countries. Indeed, there was a welcomed international contingent in attendance at this gathering of “citsci folks” – Brazil, New Zealand, England, Canada, Australia and Kenya, to name a few.
We came home with our heads full of ideas for our very own Nature Mapping Jackson Hole program, which is a super example of citizen science in action. Conversations at the conference covered many critical areas, such as: the need for fostering community amongst citizen science professionals, a sense of creating a mandate around using well-vetted knowledge to make a difference, advancing the role of public citizens in conducting and defining research, and most of all, fostering and strengthening partnerships across the board.
Best of all, we came back from this conference with a reconfirmation of the value and specialness that is Nature Mapping Jackson Hole. Within the past nine years, 435 people have been trained as certified Nature Mappers and have entered 45,345 observations into the program’s central database. All this effort is filling wildlife observation and distribution needs not already covered by state and federal agencies or local research organizations. Furthermore, together we are fostering a community that looks deeper into the meanings of science and citizenship – therefore, realizing that to participate in the building of knowledge about how our world works, can have profound implications for the way we, Jackson Hole, relate to our natural environment and shape its future.
Thank you for getting involved in the experiences of seeing, feeling, and understanding nature in all its amazingness through Nature Mapping Jackson Hole. Keep up the great work, it’s making a difference!
The whole of science, and one is tempted to think the whole of the life of any thinking man, is trying to come to terms with the relationship between yourself and the natural world. Why are you here, and how do you fit in, and what’s it all about?
– Sir David Attenborough