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How can Citizen Science be Improved with the use of Environmental Education
Is there a need for citizen science? There are 7.125 billion people on the planet and millions of them have access to technology such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and watches that are constantly getting better and better at doing literally everything. Pair this increased access with lowered funding for scientific research and the question arises: Should scientists use the data garnered from citizen science? Citizen science is a new term that refers to people who do not have science degrees, who participate in a scientific study be it either in a way that is organized or not. The term “citizen science” gained popularity as the average person’s ability to access technology has grown. Citizen science and environmental education are two things that can go hand in hand. Environmental education grant programs can encourage students to participate in citizen science individually or through organizing a science club. Locally, the B-Wet Grant has been helpful in educating 6th -12th grade students about our local watershed, the Santa Barbara Channel and global resources. The B-Wet Grant encourages underrepresented student populations, including Blacks, Latinos, ESL, Asians, etc. to enter STEM disciplines in college. In Ventura County the target group is Latino. The program uses websites to familiarize the students with ocean biology to better identify local animals and algae. The educational outreach program “Crossing the Channel” had positive results.
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