Citizen Science at Tremont Institute
At Tremont, we are using citizen science as an invaluable tool to connect people with nature. Hands-on experience with real research projects engages and excites students and volunteers. The knowledge that they have helped scientists learn something new about Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a memory that stays with students for a long time. They develop a sense of ownership for the projects and realize that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. If you have been coming to Tremont for a while, you’ve probably already been doing citizen science, perhaps as part of our weather monitoring study or our salamander monitoring projects.
We have several core on-going research projects as well as smaller projects that are done on an occasional basis. The specific mix of projects varies seasonally and from year-to-year. Many of them relate to the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI), a long-term study aimed at identifying and mapping all 80,000+ species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All of our projects are real research; the data students and volunteers collect are maintained and shared with park managers and scientists.
If you haven’t already been involved in a citizen science project at Tremont, now is your chance! Pop Up As you’ll see, the time of year you will be at Tremont and the age of your students or group will affect which projects are most appropriate for your group. Some of the projects can be done with all your students, and some are most appropriate for a small, select group of budding scientists that need an extra challenge. Some of the projects can be done as a part of one of our regular lessons, and some can be done as entire lessons of their own.
Citizen science is public participation in scientific research. It is a useful tool for both educators and scientists. The research process begins with posing questions for investigation and includes hypothesizing, designing methods, and collecting and analyzing data. It culminates in sharing research findings with other people. Students, teachers, and other citizens can be involved with one or more of these steps.