Tree and urban landscapes provide an opportunity for every citizen to contribute to climate resilience through informed plant selection and sustainable management practices. The University of Arizona Campus Arboretum was established to guide science-based urban tree stewardship and to advance conservation best practices for campus and communities throughout the state.
The Art of Building a Citizen Science Program
Meghan Smart , Environmental Scientist III, ADEQ
Arizona Water Watch (AWW), a new citizen science program offered through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, is designed to train volunteers to collect credible scientific data on streams and lakes in Arizona. The program uses innovative ideas like visually friendly forms, hand stitched cloth streams for teaching, micro video lessons, and crowd sourcing data techniques to reach many levels of volunteers. Empowering the volunteers with the proper tools and resources allows citizen scientists to make a meaningful contribution and helps state scientists assess water quality on more of the waterbodies in the state. The pairing of scientists with volunteers enables themes of groundbreaking methods and creativity to solve water quality issues. For example, Arizona Water Watch has citizen scientists sampling E. coli by drone, testing the use of time-lapse photography to meet Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requirements, and explores the unique canine scent testing “ship and sniff” to identify human sewage pollution sources. This presentation will discuss the fundamentals of building a citizen science-based program, discuss lessons learned, and highlight some of the amazing work Arizona’s citizen scientists are doing to aid in the protection of our waterbodies.
Meghan Smart has been a scientist with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for 12 years studying perennial and intermittent streams. In 2017 she created the water quality citizen science program, Arizona Water Watch.