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    We are now accepting abstracts on "citizen science" for the Spring 2019 issue of Rural Connections

    Please carefully read the information below. This issue will focus solely on citizen science

    Click the tabs above for details on submission information including guidelines and deadlines, and notification and selection criteria.


    For the Spring 2019 issue of Rural Connections, we are seeking articles on the topic of citizen science. Have you developed and implemented citizen science programming? How can citizen science be a key part of land grant universities working with citizens of all ages and educational attainment in scientific research and education? 

    The importance of science and technology as relatively new cultural and societal imperatives was established during the late 19th century and continued throughout much of the 20th century. Curricula at Land Grant Universities and other research universities have established science, along with the liberal arts, as foundations of their ‘core curriculum.’ Since before World War II, citizens have held science and associated institutions and professionals in high regard.

    During the last quarter of the 20th century through today, the cultural value for science has become fragmented as a reliable source for information and analysis. The politicization of science and technology, along with just about all other social institutions have led to a decline in the cultural acceptance of science and its practitioners. The politicization of environmental science during the latter part of the 20th century and the polarization of citizens’ perspectives on climate change and GMOs are just two examples. Dueling scientists have left citizens to be wary of science in general. The extraordinary explosion of easy access to information on the internet has fragmented ‘facts’ with ‘fake facts.’ The traditional scientific methods establishing reliability and validity of science-based statements has been eroded.

    The Western Extension Directors have identified the ‘delegitimization of science’ as a priority concern for Extension programs in the West. Creating and disseminating evidence-based information is one of Extension’s core missions. WEDA and WRDC have identified this decline in our culture’s embracing of science as an almost value-free social institution. Two ‘remedies’ to counter this cultural erosion of science are greater attention to ‘co-creation’ of programs with citizens and their local institutions. The second, and the focus for this issue of Rural Connections, is the capitalizing on Land Grant Universities historic use of ‘citizen science’ in engaging citizens in science processes. These occur in 4-H STEM programs, to citizens’ collection of weather data, to involvement in censuses of pollinators, to mention a few. WEDA and WRDC believe that citizen science offers greater impacts in engaging citizens in real-time research programs. This request for articles gives emphasis to how citizen science can be a key part of LGUs once again working with citizens of all ages and educational attainment in scientific research and education.

    We extend a special thanks to the WRDC Board of Directors for their input on this topic and especially to Dr. Lou Swanson, Vice President for Engagement, Director of Extension and Professor of Sociology, Colorado State University, for his leadership outlining the topic.