Citizen Science Program
Our Citizen Science Program "What We Value about the Land?" is a series of lessons that help students, teachers, and citizens of all ages to better understand and think critically about what we use our lands for and what we value most about them.
The social, economic, and environmental benefits provided by our lands are innumerable--from food and energy production, to watersheds and wildlife habitats. But there are also trade-offs associated with any land use. "What We Value about the Land?" focuses on four topics that are key to understanding these benefits and trade-offs:
The lessons in"What We Value about the Land?" are an opportunity for community members to learn about the research we're doing on the WAFERx project and to be involved as citizen scientists. By making and recording observations, you will be collecting valuable data that will contribute to our research.
WAFERx is a reseach collaborative exploring linkages between food, water, energy, biodiversity, and social systems. Our goal is to understand how these systems would be affected by new agricultural and energy systems that mitigate climate change.
Through the lessons we have developed, community members will learn about the linkages between these complex systems and will consider how different land-use choices could impact local people, communities, cultures, and ecosystems.
These lessons are designed for students ages 9 to 13. We created them to be used in an out-of-school environment and think they would be ideal for after school programs. However, they could also be used by younger students, teens, or citizens of any age.
While some of the material in the lessons is specific to the region of the Upper Missouri River Basin, much of it could be applied anywhere.
We are doing a pilot test of this program in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota and are currently accepting applications. If your application is accepted, you will receive your kit in April (in time for Citizen Science Month).
If you are interested in participating, please apply here.
We have a limited number of physical kits for the pilot test of this program. But, all digital resources will be made available online for free download.
We will provide a toolkit to educators that includes lessons, activities, and materials that support students in making observations and collecting data about the lands around them. These toolkits also include instructions and training materials to help educators impletment the kit.
If you would like to be part of the pilot test for this program, you will receive:
· Detailed outlines for 3-4 classroom activities, each approximately one hour
· Citizen scientist supplies for up to 30 individual students, including observational journals, pencils, magnifying glasses
· Equipment for your classroom
· Technical support throughout the project
· If your students would like, an in-person visit or videoconference with a faculty member or student from the research team
All supplies and resources are yours to keep after you complete the program. Program participation and student led data collection will be reported within the research team, and in WAFERx outreach materials.
If you have questions about the "What We Value about the Land" program or about the WAFERx project, please email:
Associate Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at MSU, Principal Investigator of the MSU Food and Health Lab, Principal Investigator of the WAFERx project
Assistant Director for Outreach and Communications, WAFERx Outreach Team
Lab Manager for the MSU Food and Health Lab, Research Associate on the WAFERx Team
Montana State University
P.O. Box 1234
Bozeman, MT 59717-1234