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Affinity Group
American Association for the Advancement of Science
 –  Auditorium  –  1200 New York Ave NW Washington, DC 20005

Symposium: Community-driven Citizen Science for Health and the Environment


The democratization of science and technology represents a tremendous opportunity to empower communities to address issues of local concern and to expand scientific knowledge used in policymaking in both the environment and the health sectors. Citizen science presents a tangible opportunity for the general public to connect with research and science policy by creating opportunities for real, needs-based engagement. However, without intentional processes and design, it is possible to exacerbate existing inequalities. This symposium will address the intersection of two complementary approaches: community-driven research and citizen science.

At its core, community-driven research involves the impacted community into research question and hypothesis generation. Once identified, the research questions may combine traditional and citizen science approaches in data collection and analysis. In contrast,  many citizen science projects are conceived and initiated by scientists to answer research questions and leverage non-professionals as a means to crowdsource data collection and/or analysis. This symposium seeks to focus on questions and techniques developed outside of the traditional scientific community to engage communities in both participation and co-creation.

This symposium will begin with a keynote address presenting a common understanding of community-driven research and citizen science. Related policies, projects, issues, and strategies will then be addressed in a series of three panels that focus on different aspects of community-driven citizen science.

Panels will cover these three themes:
  • Community-Driven Water Quality Projects Focused on Aquatic Systems
  • Addressing Equity in Environmental Health Using Community-Driven Citizen Science
  • The Role of Large Citizen Science Platforms in Supporting Community-Driven Projects
Panelists will reflect viewpoints across the citizen science spectrum: from funders, to researchers, to members of impacted communities. The panelists will address policy considerations and contributions, broadening participation of underrepresented groups, project design and implementation, and outcomes.

Additionally, an expo for local community-driven citizen science projects will highlight local projects and organizations. Lightning talks by the exhibiting groups, sharing their interests in and/or experience with community-driven projects, will provide conversation-starters to facilitate networking.

At the end of the day, the goal is for attendees to gain a better understanding of the potential research, public engagement, and policy applications of community-driven citizen science and to advance their involvement with a broader network of interested communities.

** Co-sponsored by the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub**


8:00 a.m.Arrival, check in, coffee
8:45 a.m.Welcome remarks
•             Carrie Seltzer, Co-chair for the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Affinity Group
•             Stella Tarnay, Steering Committee Member for the DC Area Citizen Science Network
9:00 a.m.Keynote address: Raj Pandya, American Geophysical Union
9:30 a.m.Break
9:45 a.m.Panel 1: Community-Driven Projects Focused on Aquatic Systems
•             Moderator: Trey Sherard, Anacostia Riverkeeper
•             Amanda Rockler, University of Maryland
•             Karen Andersen, Friends of the Shenandoah River
•             John Dawes, Chesapeake Commons
•             Jay Benforado, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
11:15 a.m.Lunch: Citizen science project lightning talks and expo
12:45 p.m.Panel 2: Addressing Equity in Environmental Health Using Community-Driven Citizen Science
•             Moderator: Jennifer Couch, National Institutes of Health
•             Gari Clifford, Emory University
•             Liam O’Fallon, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
•             Rodney Sampson, Opportunity Hub, Brookings
•             Sacoby Wilson, University of Maryland
2:15 p.m.Break
2:30 p.m.Panel 3: The Role of Large Citizen Science Platforms in Supporting Community-Driven Projects
•             Moderator: Lea Shanley, South Big Data Hub
•             Julia Drapkin, ISeeChange
•             Maura Duffy, National Aquarium
•             Stinger Guala, U.S. Geological Survey
•             Scott Loarie, iNaturalist
4:00 p.m.Reception & citizen science project expo (continued)
5:30 p.m.End