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UW Biodiversity Institute to Host First Wyoming Citizen Science Conference in Lander

October 31, 2016

The University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute will host the first Wyoming Citizen Science Conference and associated workshops Thursday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 3, in Lander.

Registration is open until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25. For more information about the conference or to register, go to www.wyobiodiversity.org/wcsc. The conference costs $100 for the public; $50 for speakers or sponsors; and $25 for student speakers. Optional workshops cost $25 per workshop.

Citizen science programs -- in which citizens help scientists conduct research -- are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world. In Wyoming, community members help with dozens of citizen science programs, including projects focused on birds, climate, monarch butterflies and archaeology.

Although data collected during these projects are valuable to communities and researchers invested in these issues, Wyoming faces some challenges in supporting the projects, says Brenna Marsicek, conference organizer.

The first of its kind in the state, the Wyoming Citizen Science Conference will focus on the problems and solutions that citizen science program managers and volunteers face when implementing and participating in programs.

“This conference is geared toward discussing the challenges of coordinating, hosting and participating in citizen science in Wyoming and, most importantly, solutions to those challenges,” Marsicek says.

Rob Miller, a research biologist at Boise State University’s Intermountain Bird Observatory, is the keynote speaker. He leads a variety of projects, including breeding season studies of the northern goshawks, mountain quail and many species of woodpeckers. He also studies the effects of weather and climate on songbird and raptor migration in the U.S. and at the Strait of Gibraltar.

Miller mentors students, teachers and members of the volunteer community. He currently leads two citizen science projects: monitoring populations of the belted kingfisher in the sparsely populated region of central Idaho (50 volunteers) and monitoring statewide populations of short-eared owls across Idaho and Utah (over 200 volunteers). His most recent scientific publication used data collected by citizen scientists.

The nearly two full days of the conference will include presentations by Wyoming-based citizen science program managers and participants, a poster session and networking opportunities. Conference highlights include a presentation by Temple Stoellinger, assistant professor in the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, and Greg Nickerson, associate research scientist in the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, on trespass law and how it affects citizen scientists. Also, Ana Houseal, assistant professor in the UW Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, will discuss the value of connecting citizen science programs with classrooms through Next Generation Science Standards.

An optional workshop on improving science communication is planned Friday afternoon, following the main conference. Thursday’s and Friday’s activities will take place at the Lander Community and Convention Center, located at 950 Buena Vista Drive.

Four optional, hands-on workshops will be offered Saturday at the Fremont County Public Library, located at 451 N. Second St. Workshop session topics range from banding birds to learning how to use a GPS.

Conference co-sponsors are: Central Wyoming College, Draper Museum of Natural History, Fremont County School District 1, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium, Agate Adventures, Fremont County Public Libraries, The Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Outdoor Council and Wyoming School-University Partnership.

For more information about the conference and optional workshops, email Marsicek at brenna.marsicek@uwyo.edu.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

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