Master Watershed Stewards: Citizen Science Co-Presentation

On March 23, 2021,  I co-presented with ALLARM Director Julie Vastine in a virtual presentation to Pennsylvania Master Watershed Stewards about Citizen Science. We had 25 people in the audience who logged in for the event in real time, but the session was also recorded and is a required watching for hundreds of Master Watershed Stewards in training. I enjoyed preparing for this presentation because it gave me the opportunity to re-read a guiding piece of citizen science academic literature authored by Director of the Citizen Science Association, Dr. Jennifer Shirk as well as ALLARM and Dickinson College Environmental Studies Department founder Dr. Candie Wilderman. I presented slides describing the five different citizen science models as described in the literature. I enjoyed summarizing the different models and thinking of real-world projects that fit the descriptions while making the information accessible in a presentation and recording that can be viewed at any time. In addition, I gave an overview of ALLARM’s Stream Team program and connected it to my discussion of citizen science models. Our Stream Team program falls under the co-created/collaborative model in which the volunteers are a part of most or all of the research process. In the presentation, I reflected on my work with Stream Team and how I have been able to help volunteers along each part of the research process, from teaching chemical monitoring or macroinvertebrate training workshops to leading volunteers through interpreting their monitoring data. I feel fortunate to have experienced a citizen science model happen throughout the entirety of its study design cycle. It has also been fulfilling to work with volunteers at all of these steps and see how they grow or learn along the way and also what they have taught me in return. This presentation helped me continue to strengthen my public speaking skills as well as think more deeply about the citizen science process and community.