Citizen Science Program
What is Gardenroots?
Gardenroots is a Citizen Science (CS) program that has successfully incorporate and empower a cadre of community gardeners in the scientific process to determine the levels of metals in the vegetables grown in Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona home gardens.
What is Citizen Science?
Citizen Science (CS) is where non-scientists participate in, and contribute to the collection of data for the stated research question, while increasing their own personal scientific knowledge regarding the subject being investigated. CS aims to increase participants’ knowledge about science and the scientific process, while allowing scientists to gather large sets of data, which can be used for research. Substantial benefits are therefore provided to all citizen-science participants, both professional and non-professional (D. Brossard et al., 2005).
Gardenroots + Citizen Science = Democratization of Science
Gardenroots exemplifies how a university can proactively respond to a community inquiry regarding water and the environment, and meet the needs identified by the community themselves instead of the traditional outreach model, where the academic institution decides what the community needs to know, or learn. The novelty of this project stems from its unique design and democratization of science and science information. Its not only a citizen science program, where non-scientists participate in the collection of data for a specific research question, while increasing their own personal scientific knowledge; it’s a participatory design experience. Citizen scientists will also assist in the design of educational products for their community. This additional step is recognizing community members as local experts in their own right, empowering them to generate their own understanding, and be ambassadors for the environment in their community. Participants have, and will continue to be involved in all steps of the scientific process, demonstrating that the science has been democratized - the ultimate goal of a CS program. This innovative, integrated process will lead to: 1) Civic engagement; 2) Public participation in the decision-making process pertaining to water, soil and environmental issues; and 3) A trusting and ongoing partnership between the Dewey-Humboldt and The University of Arizona.
For more information about Citizen Science Projects, please visit:
The Network for Citizen Science Projects and Resources
Cornell University’s Citizen Science Central
Lab Coats for All! A Layperson's Guide to Citizen Science