San Diego is a thriving hub for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and we have a number of local initiatives and organizations dedicated to improving STEM exposure and education, especially at the K-12 level. San Diego is also home to an impressive number of citizen science efforts, which invite members of the public to meaningfully contribute and become involved in science. Since 2012, the San Diego Citizen Science Network has made a concerted effort to apply citizen science towards STEM education at the K-12 level. Building on these efforts, raising awareness for San Diego citizen science projects could be an important means of involving San Diegans in the STEM dialog outside of the K-12 framework. Last year, the La Jolla Public Library partnered with Mark2Cure and other local citizen science projects to raise awareness of these projects. In 2017, we would like to launch a passport to citizen science program to encourage public participation in science. In this manner, we aim to assist local science projects in data collection, enable scientific dialog amongst members of the public and the scientific community, provide educational opportunities for STEM outside the K-12 educational framework, and encourage exploration of San Diego’s valuable STEM resources such as parks and museums.
Citizen Scientists and Citizen Science Projects/Research groups. Citizen Scientists will include any resident of San Diego County who is interested in becoming involved in San Diego science. Citizen science project/research groups include park foundations, academic researchers, non-profit environmental organizations and more. An example and partial list of the project/research groups involved can be found in the 2016 Citizen Science Day Expo program.
A Citizen Science Expo will be held as part of the the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Week, to introduce San Diegans to various projects in need of public participants, as well as scheduled activities/opportunities that will be held throughout the summer. Citizen Science Passports will be distributed at the Expo and at satellite events. These passports will be stamped whenever a passport holder participates/contributes to a qualifying citizen science activity. A Citizen Science celebration will follow at the end of the program in August of 2017. There were roughly 100 participants in last year’s expo in spite of the lack of marketing/promotional support. We believe 250 participants in the 2017 expo and passport programs is attainable with sponsorship support.
The Citizen Science Expo will be held at the La Jolla Public Library. Satellite events (required for passport stamps) may occur at project sites such as Cabrillo National Monument, Natural History Museum, San Diego River Park, San Dieguito River Park, etc.
The Expo is planned for March 11, 2017. The passport program will run from March 11, 2017 to August 2017 (TBD). The Citizen Science Celebration will be in August, 2017.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines play an important role in our thriving economy. San Diego leaders and community partners have made important investments in STEM education at the K-12 level, but adult STEM education/participation should not be neglected. San Diego is home to an impressive number of citizen science projects which present opportunities for engaging and educating San Diegans in local science. Furthermore, these projects NEED participation from the public in order to make progress. By encouraging public participation in San Diego science, we facilitate research and keep San Diegans involved in science.
The value of the program will depend on the stakeholder.
View the program’s value proposition.