The word citizen was originally used in the term citizen science to distinguish amateur participants in science projects, often performing data collection, from professional scientists, not to describe the citizenship status of these volunteer observers. Today, however, it is important for us to recognize that the term has become limiting to our work and partnerships in some contexts.
The Biodiversity Institute welcomes everyone who finds delight in biodiversity. As part of our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, we believe it is important that we transition from using the term “citizen science” to the more inclusive term “community science.” No matter where a volunteer was born, where they live, or where they call home, we value their contribution to our programs. Citizenship, or the perception that a volunteer may or may not be a citizen, certainly isn’t a prerequisite for finding biodiversity, or science, fascinating!
Participation in volunteer initiatives like the the Rocky Mountain Amphibian Project, and the our Bi-Annual Moose Day are, at their best, communal experiences that bring us together as a caring community of people who are inspired by the biodiversity and the world around us. The term community science better reflects these social and relational realities.
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