Understanding the Rhythms of the Desert: Citizen Science, Committed Communities, Public Libraries and SciStarter
A guest post from the Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) community in Apache Junction, AZ.
Understanding the Rhythms of the Desert: A Citizen Science and Lending Library Program
Presented by: The Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT), SciStarter, Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, YLACES.org, GLOBE.gov & The Apache Junction Public Library
The Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) is aware of the importance and need for credible scientific information to guide wise land use decisions and management. SALT understands that communities and citizens who live, work and play on these lands can benefit from a greater understanding and appreciation of the scientific method of investigation and scientific information. Citizens provided opportunities to participate in the practice of scientific study, data interpretation, and integration of results into decision making processes will develop a much greater appreciation of the many benefits science offers societies.
SALT is forming a partnership with SciStarter, City of Apache Junction’s Public Library, Arizona State University and others to develop a citizen science program to allow the citizens of the region to become involved in the study of the components, interrelationships and rhythms of the natural world within which they live, work and play. SciStarter is a unique organization dedicated to aiding citizens in finding, joining and contributing to science through more than 1600 formal and informal research projects and events (http://scistarter.com/index.html).
The program will offer a menu of modules that will allow participants to take on small study segments in the beginning and add more as their interests and curiosities increase. This program is designed to include people of all ages, from all backgrounds and experiences that are interested in science and want to become more knowledgeable of and experienced in its practice.
The base program will offer two modules: 1) The El Nino; and 2) The Garden Roots. The El Nino is part of GLOBE.gov and shares environmental data with scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Garden Roots program, offered by the University of Arizona, is designed to Evaluate environmental quality and the potential exposure to contaminants of concern (COC) near resource extraction and hazardous waste sites. It provides results to participants, families and others in order to influence community prevention practices and environmental decision-making.
The program is designed with simplicity and participant involvement in mind. Most training is available online from SciStarter at https://globescistarter.org/ and https://gardenroots.arizona.edu/. Equipment will be provided at the Apache Junction Public Library via SciStarter and ASU’s new prototype Citizen Science Lending Library and with support from Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (http://www.ylaces.org/). New SciStarter El Nino Citizen Science Kits have been created as part of this pilot program. Citizen Scientists can enter their data online with personal computers, smart phone apps, and/or computers at the library. We hope to have everything up and running by early November, 2016
If you’re interested in learning more, go to http://www.azsalt.org/cspreg.html and leave your name, email address and phone number and we will contact you with updates on the program, information on how to register, obtain training and get started as a Citizen Scientist.
Meet SALT community members, learn more about this program, the tools, and the lending library at the ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit October 27-28!