You can join a growing community of “citizen scientists” who help to expand our body of scientific knowledge by crowdsourcing data collection. In citizen science, an institution or agency creates a project and its infrastructure, then recruits everyday people to help, vastly increasing the number of individuals collecting data in the environment. “Citizen” in this context is shorthand for “Citizen of the World” and does not relate to legal status.
A similar concept, “community science,” has a bottom-up structure. For example, people may notice a cancer cluster in their neighborhood, go door-to-door collecting people’s stories, then approach scientists for help in proving and solving the problem. While this is important work, it differs from the crowd-sourcing approach of citizen science.
Learn about citizen science with Norman Dudziak, a retired environmental engineer and science liaison for the Barrington Land Conservation Trust. Norm has been a member of the Land Trust’s Stewardship Committee for many years and has served on the Land Trust’s Board.