There’s a movement in the sciences to begin involve citizens more in the collection of data. There are many reasons behind the effort. One reason is a better understanding of science as a process, because you helped collect data and were part of the process. Another reason is better access to scientific information, because you might know where to find it. Others are improved scientific literacy, stronger connection between people and nature, and changes in attitudes towards nature (or science).
The main reasons these changes happen – is people get to participate. The participants get to collect data and be part of a bigger project.
What are some of these citizen science efforts? Citizens collect data on the numbers of birds, fish and environmental conditions.
I love being a citizen scientist because I can recognize that it has changed how I see the beach where I collect data. My beach is not just one big patch of sand to me any more. Because I’ve had to stop, slow down and look at the beach and users very systematically and record those details (like the temperature, water current speed, cloud cover, and wind speeds), I see more details. Now when I go to the beach, I look at the vista, the boats, clear water, and people enjoying the water. I look at it differently.
That’s one of the reasons we created Placing Literature. Give you (gentle readers) a way to stop, and think about, and write about the places you’ve been. You can compare them to the places created by the writer of the story and think about how we all experience places differently.
Please let us know – when you entered your place on the map, did you think about it differently? Tell us more!