Senior Seminar Community Science Discussion

On Tuesday, September 21st, ALLARM joined Professor Tom Arnold’s Coastal Biology Senior Seminar to facilitate conversations about community-based science, to provide background on ALLARM’s history, and to discuss our role within community-based science.

Julie Vastine (Director) gave the class a brief introduction, drawing on her extensive experience with ALLARM, to detail our history and relationship with local watersheds and the state/national water protection agencies. Then, Nick Bradbury ’23 and I (Prerana Patil ’24) engaged the class in a discussion with a focus on two main ideas: 1) How does community science retain volunteers and cultivate a sense of place? 2) How do we increase data credibility in our work and the field? The discussion went well, and it even turned out that a student’s mom had crossed paths with ALLARM on a community collaboration before (small world moment).

I was pretty nervous for my first ALLARM event (especially since I would be a sophomore in a class of all upperclassmen!), but I would say that the discussion went very well and it was really interesting to go into an upper-level class and see how these students connected the themes discussed in their class (how to create productive solutions in the face of huge problems) to the work that ALLARM does! Nick Bradbury also had a “great time facilitating the discussion… about the idea of fostering a sense of place in community” and was particularly enthused about the fact that many of the students “had prior experience with community science.” He is “happy with how smoothly the discussion went and [is] looking forward to more opportunities to visit classes.”