Connecting People to Nature through Citizen Science
Do you ever notice when leaves first appear on the trees in your area each spring? How about when certain migratory birds first show up? Studying these things is easy to do – and it can teach us a lot about what’s going on in the natural world. Diane Husic is on a mission to help Pennsylvanians and others learn how to become citizen scientists, tracking these events and more.
A trained plant biochemist and master gardener, Diane quickly found herself leaning towards conservation leadership. While working at Moravian College, she was a co-recipient of a National Science Foundation grant that led her to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center and the Palmerton Superfund site revitalization project, where she conducts research and habitat enhancement while reaching out to local youth and adults. She teaches a range of environmentally-themed courses, often partnering with colleagues to create unique education methods. Diane recently took a delegation of students and alumni to Copenhagen to attend COP15, the climate summit, where they met inspiring environmental heroes and Nobel Prize winners from around the globe.
With help from TogetherGreen, Diane was able to get people who aren’t trained scientists like herself involved in a citizen science project focused on phenology – the study of plant and animal life cycles, such as flowers blooming, insects hatching or migrations. Citizen science can be done by people of all ages, getting them outdoors and linking them to their history, environment, and neighbors. Collecting such data makes an important contribution to science and conservation, demonstrating how the environment is changing. Additionally, Diane led workshops to train students and teachers from eastern Pennsylvania and created ‘phenology stations’ at nine participating schools using native plants.
Many more serendipitous opportunities, meetings, and study are on Diane’s horizon as she continues her conservation dream - to restore hope about the future of our environment through hands-on action.