Citizen Science and Community Engagement
By Barbara Heimlich
What Is Citizen Science?
Citizen science, also known as community science, refers to the involvement of the general public in scientific research, often as volunteers collecting data or participating in research projects. Citizen science is an incredibly beneficial way to engage the public in scientific inquiry. It boosts communities’ scientific literacy and provides valuable data for researchers at the same time. These initiatives have been successful in various fields, including ecology, astronomy, and public health.
Why Is Community Engagement Important?
Community engagement and civic engagement refer to the ways in which individuals and communities participate in and contribute to the decision-making processes and activities that impact their lives and communities. Community engagement examples include:
- Attending town hall or neighborhood meetings
- Participating in local clean-ups
- Meeting with local government officials
- Volunteering and service projects
These forms of engagement are important because they empower individuals and communities to take an active role in shaping their own futures and addressing the challenges they face. Community engagement promotes locally focused and locally led solutions to issues like visual pollution, energy equity, and urban sprawl.
Local efforts are an essential part of our work here in Stratford. We have educated and promoted local conservation through:
- The restoration and replanting of 34 acres of salt marsh and other important coastal habitat being restored at Great Meadows Marsh part of Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.
- Project Limulus, A Study Examining the Ecology of the Long Island Sound Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) population. “Community-Based Research Program Providing Opportunities for All People to Become Active Contributors to On-Going Scientific Research” which has been a data-gathering network to potentially direct conservation programs for the Horseshoe Crab.
Upcoming Opportunities: Mark your calendar!
You can step up to help our community now. Upcoming events reaching out to Stratford residents include the annual Longbrook Park Clean-up on Saturday April 15th, and Operation Clean Sweep on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd.