Researchers from Colorado State University are looking for members of the public to participate in a citizen science experiment, July 11-12 at CSU. As part of the experiment, volunteers will participate in a free workshop and online training where they will learn citizen scientist skills such as invasive species and plant identification, GPS use and monitoring protocols. Following the training, the new citizen scientists will test their skills against professionals in the field.
In this National Science Foundation-funded research experiment, CSU scientists from the university’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory are studying the effectiveness of different training approaches – in-person and hands-on, online training, and online multimedia presentations.
Volunteers are needed to participate in the online or in-person trainings and then will be tested in the field about these same subjects. CSU researchers are aiming to ensure that all volunteer participants, whether trained online or in-person, are equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to become successful citizen scientists.
"Effectively trained citizen scientists provide valuable location information and improve our ability to map invasive plant distributions," said Greg Newman, project leader and Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory research associate.
There are three ways that members of the public can volunteer and participate in the training and experiment.
People can join the in-person training 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 11 at CSU’s Lory Student Center and will be asked to participate in the field test to demonstrate what was learned through the training from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 12 at CSU’s Environmental Learning Center.
Other volunteers can participate by joining the online training and complete the study tutorials from their personal computers anytime from July 4-10. The online users will then demonstrate their learned skills in the field from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. July 11 at CSU’s Environmental Learning Center.
Food and beverages will be provided to participants on July 11 and 12.
The third way volunteers can participate in the experiment is by completing a mail-in survey that will help CSU researchers determine what people know about these topics that the other volunteers will be trained on including information on invasive species and GPS use.
Beyond members of the public volunteering for this experiment, researchers are also looking for professional botanists who could volunteer and help out with the field testing.
To register for any of the volunteer opportunities, visit http://tinyurl.com/ColoradoInvasivePlantEvent. For more information, contact Greg Newman at (970) 491-0410 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.citsci.org.