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Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group

Begun in 2016, the Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group (PaCS) facilitates citizen science research and practice that aids the Society for Conservation Biology in achieving its mission of preserving the Earth’s biodiversity.  We welcome all SCB members who are interested in involving members of the public in conservation research. Please join our listserv to stay current on the latest news and opportunities from PaCS. 


About Us

The mission of the Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group is to facilitate citizen science research and practice that aids the Society for Conservation Biology in achieving its mission of preserving the Earth’s biodiversity.
In support of the vision of the Society for Conservation Biology, the Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group seeks to increase awareness of, support knowledge exchange for, and promote citizen science as an effective method in advancing biodiversity conservation. In addition to supporting knowledge exchange among practitioners, researchers, and managers, the working group seeks to increase acceptance of citizen science in research, management, and policy application to advance the scope and pace of biodiversity conservation.
Working Group Values/Priorities
  • Supports the vision, mission, goals, and global reach of SCB.
  • Works with other SCB Working Groups when possible.
  • Supports and facilitates citizen science in all forms, including participatory, co-created, and community-led science.
  • Seeks input from, listens to, and welcomes SCB participation from local and indigenous communities, stakeholders, and citizen groups to advance biodiversity conservation.
  • Builds on, rather than duplicates, citizen science promotion and facilitation efforts by outside entities.


Overall Goals and Objectives

Education and Outreach
  • Raise awareness within SCB, other conservation scientists and practitioners, and the public of the validity of using citizen science to advance biodiversity conservation.
  • Promote the ways that citizen science contributes to conservation biology, natural resource management, climate change adaptation, and policy.
  • Increase knowledge exchange for citizen science and citizen scientists within the field of conservation biology.
  • Foster ownership of citizen science results and management outcomes by participants.
Facilitate the Practice of Citizen Science
  • Facilitate professional scientists/researchers working with the public. Create connections between professional and citizen scientists on priority research topics. 
  • Promote the use of citizen science projects to further conservation goals at multiple scales.
  • Provide participatory research skills training for conservation scientists.
Become an International Conservation Biology Citizen Science Network Builder and Knowledge Hub
  • Serve as knowledge hub for innovations in citizen science, including:
    • Promoting forms of public engagement and partnerships.
    • Targeting and tracking behavior change.
    • Improving the credibility of using citizen science to advance conservation where there is a divide with scientists, managers, or policy makers.
    • Developing and promoting related methods, technology, and apps for using citizen science for conservation research.
    • Highlighting successes, failures, and processes that might not be captured in the peer-reviewed literature.
    • Increasing utility of citizen science metadata.
  • Elevate the role of citizen science in the national/international policy realm (as distinguished from ‘outreach’). Develop and promote policy change for government and other agencies to recognize and prioritize the utility, need, and benefits of citizen engagement in conservation science and practice.
  • Seek and share solutions to the challenges of implementation of citizen science for conservation, including project management, data accuracy/precision, partnership building, funding, etc.


Proposed Activities

We are considering a number of possible activities for the group’s first three years:
Assess Awareness and Engagement Level of SCB Members
  • Survey SCB members to see what they know about citizen science, their attitudes about citizen science, how they are involved in citizen science, and, if applicable, what their priorities and commitment would be for Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group activities. 
Citizen Science Best Management Practices
  • Best Management Practices (BMPs) for citizen science in conservation: when and how should we use citizen science?
Promoting/Tracking Conservation Impacts and Connecting with Natural Resource Management and Policy
  • Tracking conservation impacts of citizen science on conservation outcomes.
    • Create a crowdsourced, online, inventory of conservation citizen science projects and platforms that has adequate QA/QC mechanisms
    • Tracking/sharing/listing research goals and objectives.
    • Yield an interactive inventory of successes, “failures”, pitfalls, and lessons learned
  • Science story telling (local, open to the public, virtual) at meetings.
  • Provide resources for agencies /academic institutions to recognize and reward community engaged scholarship.
  • Develop initiatives for citizen science to better contribute to biodiversity conservation and natural resource management and policy. 
Conferences and Workshops
  • A symposium or group meeting at a Citizen Science Association Conference.
  • Symposium or other activity at International Congress for Conservation Biology and SCB section meetings.
  • Trainings at SCB on projects such as eBird, iNaturalist, etc., to raise awareness of those opportunities.
  • Small conferences that can be organized to cover specific topics in citizen science research.
  • Host workshop on beginning a citizen science program or using common/good tools.
  • Workshops for scientists to communicate with non-scientists.
The current board for The Participatory and Citizen Science Working Group is:
  • Eva Lewandowski, President
  • John Cigliano, Vice-President
  • Monica Awasthy, Member-at-Large
  • Courtney Hughes, Member-at-Large
  • Tina Phillips, Member-at-Large
  • Sally Ann Sims, Member-at-Large
We welcome all members of the Society for Conservation Biology who have an interest in participatory and citizen science, or any form of scientific research in which members of the public have a role. Please join the working group so you can stay up-to-date on group news. View meeting minutes and other working group materials here
To Join:
Please log in to the SCB Member Area at (see top of page). After you log in to your SCB member home page, look for "My Society Involvement" on the right-hand side of the screen. Click "Join a Work Group"and sign up for PaCS. Then to receive communications from the group, you must sign up for the group's listserv.  

Contact Eva Lewandowski for more information!