Family Citizen Science @ the Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve:
Connecting Family, Community, Education, and Ecosystems through Field Research Projects
Students become scientifically literate by actively learning science as science is done. Whether in the field or classroom, participating K-12 students, teachers, families, and area community groups, such as scouts and 4-H, can be engaged with the undertaking of science as an active process. “Family Citizen Science @ the Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve” will encompass and support participation in active scientific research through the development of meaningful mentor-mentee relationships collecting, interpreting, and communicating scientific data facilitated by Brandwein Institute Directors.
Initial Citizen Science projects include:
- GLOBE’s newly announced “Trees Around The GLOBE” protocol that will enable students and their mentors to collect and examine carbon sequestration data, seasonal phenology dates, and assess the general health of a forest. See https://www.globe.gov/web/biosphere/
- Using iNaturalist protocols, mentor-mentee teams will collect and share data on local bird migration and invasive species.
Training for the protocols will occur on four mid-season weekends as part of “Sundays at the Preserve” at the Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve (BNLP). Training will also be posted on the Brandwein Institute’s website in video and PDF formats to download. The sessions can be live-streamed, recorded, and edited. Both the on-site training and online videos and PDFs will provide information on data collection protocols, communicating, and submitting data to the Brandwein Institute as well as how to construct the necessary data collection tools, such as DBH tapes, Canopy Densitometers, and Tree Altimeters, or how to borrow field equipment from the Brandwein Institute. Our first on-site training was Earth Day (April 22) 2019.
One of the goals of the program is to support families in doing science as family citizen scientists, collecting and discussing the process of science and data together. To further support the mid-season “Sundays at the Preserve” training workshops, the Brandwein website will host an “Ask a Question” portal to allow participants to submit questions that will be answered by Brandwein Institute Directors.
Data collected will be shared with GLOBE and posted on the Brandwein.org website. Participants may incorporate the data with appropriate student classes; for use by individual student research projects; for use by 4-H Clubs, Scout badge requirements; and BNLP Summer Science Camp participants who will also be collecting data during their time at camp. Stay tuned to Brandwein.org website for further details and registration information.
Resources for Family Citizen Science at the Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve (BNLP):
Suggested books on Citizen Science that are a great read!
- “The Value of Mentors: Family Citizen Science at the Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve,” by Dan Bisaccio, appears in the Summer 2019 issue of Pathways, the official publication of the New York State Outdoor Education Association. See Citizen Science Article.
- Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction; Mary Ellen Hannibal, The Experiment, NY, 2016
- Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery; Caren Cooper, The Overlook Press, NY, 2016
Choosing a Citizen Science Project that is right for you: SciStarter.org
Citizen Science programs:
- Christmas Bird Count
- Great Backyard Bird Count
- Project Nest Watch
- Schoolyard Bird Blitz
- Project FeederWatch
- Peterson Field Guides
- Kaufman Field Guide
- Sibley Field Guides
- National Geographic Field Guide
- Encyclopedia of Life (EOL)
Apps available for nature watchers:
- Audubon Bird Guide App
- Song Sleuth
- Peterson Birds of North America
- Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America
- BirdsEye App