Encouraging Wyoming Residents Members to Participate in Citizen Science Research
Citizen science plays a much-needed role by providing critical long-term data on the productivity, survival, and population sizes of many species. Citizen science fulfills a huge need within the scientific community by allowing scientists to gather a wide range of information while also connecting participants (normally volunteers with no formal training) to science and nature.
Jacelyn Downey’s background as a science educator enables her to fully understand what a difference citizen science can make for conservation as well as the effect it can have on the public. From being a marine science educator at the Catalina Island Marine Institute to the Senior Community Naturalist at Audubon Wyoming, Jacelyn Downey’s experience as an educator spans over 15 years. She views her role as an educator as an opportunity to expand her own knowledge as well as share information with students, families, and communities. Her love for teaching is also seen in her rich volunteer record with local alternative high schools and boys and girls clubs.
For Jacelyn’s Toyota TogetherGreen fellowship project, she continued her passion for teaching at Audubon Wyoming with the Monitoring Migratory Birds Citizen Science project, a project designed to encourage rural Wyoming community members to get involved in real scientific research. Jacelyn worked with Audubon Wyoming and a group of dedicated volunteers to operate three bird banding stations throughout the state. Jacelyn trained volunteers how to use the banding stations to gather information about local and migratory birds. Data collected by volunteers was entered into several databases used by researchers to monitor the effects of climate change on migratory birds. Data was also be used to inform the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship program, a continent-wide program of The Institute of Bird Populations.
Through the Monitoring Birds Citizen Science Project, Jacelyn helped Wyoming residents play a major role in aiding conservation efforts throughout Wyoming and North America while also empowering participants to see that can make a global difference by working in their own backyards.