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Published November 23, 2020
Registration is now open for the University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute’s biennial Rocky Mountain Community Science Conference. The event will be held virtually Friday, Dec. 4.
This year’s conference, scheduled from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., features short talks and poster presentations by scientists, educators and program managers from different areas, many focusing on the challenges of taking projects online. To view the agenda and to register, go to www.wyomingbiodiversity.org and click on the “Community Science” tab.
“Just as everyone can be a community scientist, so, too, can anyone attend the community science conference,” says Mason Lee, UW Biodiversity Institute project coordinator. “Community science is scientific research conducted by members of the public who are not professional scientists. The Rocky Mountain region is home to a wide variety of community science projects to fit everyone’s interests, including projects on all kinds of wildlife, plants, fungi, health, archaeology, climate and even things beyond our planet.”
Data collected during the projects are highly valuable to local communities invested in these issues.
“Community science isn’t just about data collection, though,” Lee says. “Community engagement in science creates ways for children and adults to learn about scientific methods and the natural world, and to make impactful contributions to scientific knowledge.”
The conference keynote speaker is Ellen Candler, a University of Minnesota doctoral student. As part of her research, she is engaging more than 4,000 community scientists online to identify scavenger species that use gut piles left behind by hunters.
The conference includes time for discussion of community science challenges and successes, and networking opportunities.
“The conference is an opportunity to learn about and reflect on community science practices, some of which had to change rapidly last spring,” Lee says. “We look forward to discussing practices that were and weren’t successful, and highlighting those that will enhance our programs into the post-pandemic future.”
About the UW Biodiversity Institute
The mission of the Biodiversity Institute is to foster the understanding, appreciation and conservation of biological diversity through innovative research, education and outreach, and by engaging a broad audience in the scientific process.