Join us for Community Science

Join us for Community Science

Ricing at the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation
Through one community science project, scientists, students, and community members of the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation in northwestern Minnesota are looking at the impact of climate and environmental change on traditional wild rice harvesting. (Image: Susan L. Solarz)

What is community science?

Community science projects are ways for diverse communities to engage in relevant weather, climate and air quality research and education.  Collaboration between community members and the geoscience research community, facilitated by the UCAR Center for Science Education, allows development of science research projects that are in service to society. 

We hope that communities will become more aware of the process of science and how atmospheric science relates to their lives. We also hope that projects inspire students to pursue science as a career, leading to a diverse and multi-talented future scientific workforce in the future.   Finally, we hope that, through community science projects, better understanding of the atmosphere will benefit society.


How do community science projects work?

Because each community is unique, each project is unique. Yet the approach to working together is similar across projects.

  • We engage diverse communities (like tribes, farmers in a particular region, school districts, neighborhoods, cities) as partners in NCAR science, so that research projects integrate education and community engagement at every step from defining the question through collecting and analyzing data to applying the results to community priorities.
  • Research questions are developed and refined through interaction between community members and scientists, and the questions are designed to simultaneously advance science and address community priorities. 
  • Community members are partners in managing the project, defining what will count as evidence, integrating scientific knowledge with other ways of knowing, and even collecting and analyzing scientific data. 
  • Education is integrated into all steps, and ranges from helping community members learn to collect and analyze data to helping scientists explore and respect unique local or community knowledge and practices.

Are you a community with science questions about your environment and interest in collaborating with educators and researchers? Are you a geoscience researcher or educator interested in community-based participatory research? If so, contact us about community science.


© 2012