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Published October 10, 2018
The University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute and the Draper Natural History Museum will host the second Rocky Mountain Citizen Science Conference Thursday, Nov. 29-Saturday, Dec. 1, in Cody.
The conference will be set amid awe-inspiring museums and a research library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
The first Wyoming Citizen Science Conference took place in 2016 in Lander and was the first of its kind. The UW Biodiversity Institute plans to expand the regional scope of conference attendees this year.
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, large mammals, climate, monarch butterflies and archaeology.
This conference is geared toward discussing the rewards and challenges of coordinating, hosting and participating in citizen science across the West -- and, most important, solutions to those challenges.
Geoff LeBaron has been director of the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for more than 30 years and will be one of two keynote speakers. He has worked for several Audubon Society chapters throughout New England and the Ornithology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences. At the Rocky Mountain Citizen Science Conference, LeBaron will speak about the history of the CBC and how it has enabled useful access to citizen science datasets worldwide.
Greg Newman, another keynote speaker, is the director of CitSci.org. He is a research scientist, ecologist and informatics specialist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL) at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colo. He received his Ph.D. from CSU in citizen science, community-based monitoring and ecological informatics. His current research focuses on designing and evaluating the effectiveness of cyber-infrastructure support systems for citizen science programs.
At the Rocky Mountain Citizen Science Conference, Newman will discuss elevating the value of citizen science for decisionmakers, and ways to improve the design and implementation of projects to make this possible.
The nearly two full days of the conference will include presentations by Rocky Mountain-based citizen science program managers and participants, a poster session, a “project slam” and networking opportunities. The “project slam” aims to highlight new ideas in citizen science in fast presentations in a fun, interactive format.
The deadline for presentation or poster proposals has been extended, and they will be accepted through Wednesday, Oct. 31. Conference registration is open until 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15. For more information about the conference or to register, visit www.rockymountaincitizenscience.org.
Additional conference highlights include a presentation by Charles Preston, a communicator of both the product and process of science to students and the public. He currently is the Willis McDonald IV Senior Curator of Natural Science and founding curator-in-charge of the Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Preston and his staff at the Draper Natural History Museum have recruited, organized, trained and coordinated a corps of citizen scientists to monitor golden eagle nests in the Big Horn Basin since 2009.
The data collected by the Draper Museum’s “Golden Eagle Posse” have supported the publication of several scientific and popular publications and a major exhibition, and will appear in an upcoming book about the adventure of fieldwork in shrub-steppe landscapes in the greater Yellowstone National Park area.
Conference sponsors include the Draper Natural History Museum, Audubon Rockies and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation.
For more information about the conference, email Zoë Nelson, UW Biodiversity Institute project coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.