Biodiversity is the fabric of our very existence, yet many do not fully grasp the threat of biodiversity loss worldwide. Since 1970, we have seen a 68% decrease in the population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Citizen science is a powerful tool with which to combat this staggering issue in a way that benefits both people and the environment. Only with the collaboration of naturalists and trained volunteers can we closely monitor indicators necessary to ascertain the state of biodiversity across the planet, such as indicators of phenology, migratory behavior, bioindicator species, population age structure, and species distributions. Tackling such tasks is no small feat, but EwA’s dedicated and growing community of citizen scientists does so every single day.
Earthwise Aware (EwA) runs a field naturalist citizen (a.k.a. community) science program that advances biodiversity and climate research while promoting ecological ethics and the democratization of science.
EwA’s citizen science model is one of science by the people, benefiting both People and Nature. Where we live in Massachusetts, our communities get a chance to experience what this means first-hand through our EwA Naturalist program. Our projects cover different species groups and habitats and fill biodiversity and phenology data gaps. Our citizen science projects promote a form of scientific contribution and experiential learning that is system-based, with an emphasis on the interactions between species, habitats, and their function in several critical urban
locations. They reveal a continuous natural history of the places that we observe.
For us, citizen science is also about collaborating with experts, and with the organizations that protect these parks and reservations or have an interest in promoting conservation.