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Science, Conservation, and National Parks$
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Steven R. Beissinger, David D. Ackerly, Holly Doremus, and Gary E. Machlis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226422954

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226423142.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use (for details see www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 17 November 2018

The World Is a Park: Using Citizen Science to Engage People in Parks and Build the Next Century of Global Stewards

The World Is a Park: Using Citizen Science to Engage People in Parks and Build the Next Century of Global Stewards

Chapter:
(p.275) Thirteen The World Is a Park: Using Citizen Science to Engage People in Parks and Build the Next Century of Global Stewards
Source:
Science, Conservation, and National Parks
Author(s):

John Francis

Kelly J. Easterday

Kelsey J. Scheckel

Steven R. Beissinger

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226423142.003.0013

This chapter examines opportunities to engage people with nature while collecting research-grade data through biodiversity discovery activities in parks. After briefly discussing the growth of citizen science, we examine the largest, organized citizen science event occurring in parks, the BioBlitz, which features direct engagement of scientists with the public. A BioBlitz is an intensive field study that attempts to inventory all species or particular taxa in a park or protected area, typically within a 24-hour period. Since the first BioBlitz in 1996, they have been conducted in 119 national park units and a dozen countries, with over 30 events occurring annually. Species new to park inventories are often identified and occasionally species that are new to science have been discovered. An important outcome of biodiversity discovery is bringing nature to children and adults in a way that has lasting impact and encourages the need to nurture and protect nature, even in their own backyard. We discuss the communication and analytical skills that professional scientists need to work successfully with citizen science. The ubiquitous use of cell phone and similar handheld technology that is often blamed for deteriorating a child’s connection with nature may also provide an opportunity to reinvent it.

Keywords:   BioBlitz, biodiversity discovery, citizen science, national parks, nature, public engagement

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