The Citizen Science Association is hosting the CitSci2019 conference in Raleigh from March 13 to 17.
Citizen science projects involve the public in research in order to build on the base of scientific knowledge. They often utilize volunteers for data collection, monitoring, and occasionally analysis.
Open to both leaders and learners, this conference will provide a venue to share diverse perspectives and practices in the field. The theme of this year’s conference, “Growing Our Family Tree,” is a metaphor to describe the field’s deep roots and broad branches in the science community.
Over four days a variety of events including speakers, workshops, poster sessions and field trips will encourage collaboration and discussion among participants. Three areas of focus this year are problem-driven citizen science, environmental justice and education.
Scott Baker, a North Carolina Sea Grant fisheries specialist, will speak on Saturday, March 16, on a panel about the Citizen Science Program for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
“The Council took a different approach to citizen science,” Baker says. “We wanted to build for success and took the time to develop a citizen science program ahead of developing individual projects.”
Eventually, the Council hopes that the program will be a way to easily collect more data than would be possible with limited funds and person-power.
“There are many data-poor fisheries in the South Atlantic Region, and citizen science is an opportunity to take advantage of stakeholders to gather data outside of traditional methods,” Baker says.
Speaking on the panel with Baker will be Action Team leaders, including fishermen, NGOs, and federal agency staff who led the development of specific aspects of the program. Together, they will discuss the experience of creating the program, as well as how two pilot projects in development may benefit from it.
“I’m hoping to have a lot of good conversations,” Baker says. While working on its Citizen Science Program, the Council looked to other programs and projects for guidance, and Baker sees CitiSci2019 as a venue for further discussions and collaborations.
On-site registration for the conference is still available, with options for members of the association, student rates and single-day passes. The event will take place primarily at the Raleigh Convention Center.