Eco-Ethnography and Citizen Science: Lessons From Within

Abstract
Citizen science is the participation of non-scientists in the collection of scientific data and other aspects of the scientific process. In this manuscript, we explore what it means to participate in citizen science from two perspectives—that of a researcher designing and facilitating a citizen science project, and that of a citizen scientist volunteering the time and energy required for participation. We examine the methods and goals of the projects, describing the challenges faced by researchers and science volunteers alike as they participate in research processes aimed to increase community involvement in science and, by extension, environmental management issues. We describe how the constraints of citizen science models and methods underscore the importance of incorporating alternative anthropological and ethnographic approaches in coastal research, and offer eco-ethnography as a way for scientists to extend their citizen science projects to better reflect the needs and concerns of local communities impacted by climate change and sea-level rise.
Key words: Coastal management, citizen science, eco-ethnography, increasing diversity in science, public engagement.
Please contact the author for a full copy of the article.

Urban Tides Gives Rise to Community Resilience

LA JOLLA — At its peak, the king tide swallowed the entire beach, pushed past a low seawall, spilled across the bike path, and flooded the parking lot. Just past sunrise, heavy mist still lingers in the air as a group of volunteers walk along this stretch of beach in San Diego, CA. About 20 people – mostly coastal residents along with a handful of scientists and graduate students – have gathered to photograph evidence of flooding and erosion due to the extreme high tide.
See U.S. Southern California Sea Grant’s 2016 report “Urban Tides Gives Rise to Community Resilience” for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Citizen Scientists Learn to Document El Niño’s Impacts

SAN DIEGO — On a morning this week at La Jolla Shores, the tide was high and so was the enthusiasm of 20 citizen scientists who were training to help document the impact of El Niño along the coast. The group of volunteers was learning to capture images of beach erosion and coastal flooding in a way that would be useful to researchers. It’s part of what the real scientists are calling the Urban Tides Community Science Initiative.
“If we actually get folks taking pictures from the same locations, pointed in the same direction, repeatedly — so say, every day or every week — that’s actually the most valuable data for us,” said Sarah Giddings, a researcher and professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
See Susan Murphy’s Citizen Scientists Learn to Document El Niño