Community Science2021-09-27T15:55:46-04:00

Community Science at Tremont Institute

Community science (formerly called citizen science—read why we made the change in name) 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 community members can be involved with one or more of these steps.

At Tremont, we are using community science as an invaluable tool to connect people with nature. Hands-on experience with real research projects engages and excites students and volunteers.  They develop a sense of ownership for the projects and realize that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. You can join one of our community projects at Tremont, or develop a project at home or in your schoolyard. Either way, you will develop your skills of observation and contribute to important scientific research to better understand the world around us!

We have several core ongoing 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. Some 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.

During the summer months, students have the opportunity to observe, explore, and investigate while creating their own research project during our Girls in Science Camp. This program blends the best of science camps into a short one-week summer experience.

If you haven’t already been involved in a community science project at Tremont, now is your chance! 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.

Do you want to bring the magic of outdoor exploration back to your schoolyard? Join our Schoolyard Network, a network of educators aimed at empowering teachers to engage with students in the schoolyard through sharing ideas, lessons, and tips during monthly meetings. Whether you want to start a community science project in your schoolyard or after-school program, or you want to facilitate fun explorations with your students that help them make deeper observations of the natural world, you will find something of interest to learn or share during our meetings.

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