Session descriptions

Keynote Speaker: Carrol Henderson

Title: Citizen Science Dating to 1881: The Hvoslef Journals of Fillmore County

Description: Citizen Science empowers natural history enthusiasts with the ability to share their observations in a manner paints the "big picture" of what is happening in nature across counties, flyways, regions and even entire countries.  One of the best features of citizen science is that the data becomes for valuable with the passage of time--like fine wine. One of the nation's most comprehensive examples of citizen science comes from right here in Minnesota: the phenology journals of country doctor Dr. Johan Hvoslef from Lanesboro in Fillmore County.  His journals described his daily natural history observations from 1881 through 1897.

Speaker Bio: Carrol Henderson has been the Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor for the MN DNR since 1977.  He has authored 13 books and participated in restoration of peregrine falcons, bald eagles, bluebirds, river otters, and trumpeter swans. He and his wife Ethelle have led 62 international wildlife tours to 15 countries since 1987.


Plenary Sessions

Rob Blair & Lucy Fortson

Title: Planning for a Center for Citizen Science (at the University of Minnesota)

Description: Over the past year, a group of researchers and informal educators have been crafting a strategic plan for a center for citizen science in Minnesota.  Here, I will debut this plan, highlight the outcomes of its needs assessment, and discuss a strategy for moving it forward.


Britt Forsberg

Title: Working with Citizen Science Volunteers

Description: Although citizen scientist volunteers can sometimes be seen as free labor, it does take time and effort to recruit, train, and retain volunteers. This session will address strategies for working with citizen science volunteers to keep them satisfied and engaged with your project.


Janine Kohn

Title: From Trees to Technology

Description: Learn how the long-established, Citizen Science, Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey is transitioning to a paperless data collection system. By exploring new options in technology, discover how volunteers are collecting and sharing information with the MN DNR in a more accurate and time-efficient manner.


Angela Gupta

Title: Using a Flipped Classroom for Citizen Scientists

Description: Forest Pest First Detectors has been training citizen scientists for years. In 2017, we switched from a fairly traditional training model to a flipped classroom with online learning and required competency quizzes before the workshop. This allowed for additional in-person time for hands-on identification, scenarios and time with the experts. This approach was also successfully used by the AIS Detectors.


Marie Thoms

Title: Media Toolkit for Citizen Science

Description: In a crowded communication environment, most people (and that includes media) don’t need and won’t read, watch or listen to content that is not immediately compelling to them or their audiences. This session focuses on practical and applicable tools participants can use to know when and how to engage the media in citizen science.


Rebecca Montgomery & Chris Buyarski

Title: Managing Data: A Case Study of the Minnesota Phenology Network

Description: The Minnesota Phenology Network works with citizens to make a record of the seasonal changes in the state. In this session, we’ll discuss how we wrestle with the influx of data that our participants generate and how we can make sense of it.


Ignite Session

Andrea Lorek Strauss, University of Minnesota Extension

Title: Get involved in the City Nature Challenge 2018!

Description: Who wants to help document urban biodiversity? For four days in April 2018 the City Nature Challenge will pit Minneapolis/St. Paul against cities around the world, from Boston to LA, London to Tokyo, and points in between like Berlin, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur and more to see which city can document the most species, get the most people involved, find unexpected species, and have a great time connecting as naturalists in the city. It all happens on the app “iNaturalist” and your organization or agency can be a partner for the event.


Sarah Carter, Twin Cities PBS/SciGirls

Title: Citizen SciGirls

Description: SciGirls spent three years diving into the exciting world of citizen science to create six tv episodes and were so excited by what we found that we haven't stopped learning and sharing all the great opportunities out there.


Abigail Anderson, University of Minnesota

Title: Beautiful Data, Ugly Problem: Citizen Scientists & Bird Collisions.

Description: In this talk, I describe how I used citizen science data from Project BirdSafe to seek new knowledge on the problem of bird-building collisions. I'll share what I've learned about the tremendous value of these data as well as some challenges I faced as I shaped testable questions, structured variables of interest, and conducted statistical analyses. I'll also speak to the greater value this kind of project may have to generate positive feedback loops that advance public engagement around avian conservation.


Josh Leonard, Belwin Outdoor Science, St. Paul Public Schools

Title: City Kids and Citizen Science

Description: Josh Leonard is integrating citizen science into curricula for grades 1-12, at Belwin Outdoor Science, Saint Paul Public Schools. Minnesota kids living at or near the 45th parallel have a front yard seat for observing climate change. Could citizen science be part of the silver buckshot to reduce the achievement gap?


Peter Marchetto, University of Minnesota

Title: We Can Measure That!

Description:  This talk will be on the use of user-built instrumentation from open source hardware designs in citizen science, and how building hardware can bring together disparate groups of individuals (such as electronics gurus and an environmental stewardship organization) to help make a difference. One of the examples that will be shared is that of a 4-H chapter in Ithaca, NY and an electronics maker space called Ithaca Generator, and how the members of both came together to build and deploy water quality monitoring equipment.


Laurie Sovell, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Title: How's the water? - MPCA Citizen Water Monitoring

Description: For over forty years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) Citizen Monitoring Programs have collaborated with Minnesotans to track water clarity on lakes and streams across the state. This talk will describe the MPCA Citizen Lake and Stream Monitoring Programs, what our volunteer monitors do, and the importance of these programs and data over time.


Amy Rager, University of Minnesota Extension

Title: Reel 'em in....Hook, Line and Sinker!

Description: A look at a new volunteer life cycle model for natural resource volunteers considering adult learning in the mix!


Teri Heyer, USDA Forest Service

Title:  Citizen involvement the Como Woods Outdoor Classroom restoration.   

Description: Citizen involvement along with St Paul Parks and  Recreation support have been the two keys in developing the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom in Como Regional Park.  Citizen involvement remains a key piece today as volunteer ecostewards have been continuing the restoration story.  Next spring we are planning on including a voluntary invasives species tracking transect done by the ecostewards as a way of tracking the impact on reducing invasives population levels.


Katie-Lyn Bunney, University of Minnesota

Title: Monarch Larva Monitoring Project: Contributing to Conservation Action
Description: The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) engages volunteers in collecting data that are used in conservation decisions, and contributes to the preservation of habitat and the species. MLMP is a citizen science project involving volunteers across North America in monarch butterfly research. The overarching goal of the project is to better understand how and where monarch populations vary in time and space, particularly during the breeding season.


Kyle Kasten, University of Minnesota

Title: All hands on deck: Planning a future for monarch conservation

Description: With monarch populations in steep decline, there in an immense need for prioritizing conservation actions across monarchs' wide habitat range. The Monarch Conservation Science Partnership has brought together government agencies, researchers, and citizen scientists to collect these data using a single monitoring program. Through this program we hope to gain deeper insight into the current state of monarch and pollinator habitat, and engage citizens across the continent in monarch conservation.


Beth Girard, Raptor Center

Title: Outdoor Investigator

Description: The UMN Raptor Center has teamed up with UMN Extension’s Driven to Discover program. The end result will be an online platform designed to get students outdoors while actively participating in real scientific investigations!


Megan Weber, University of Minnesota Extension

Title:  Starry Trek: Expanding our understanding of aquatic invasive species distribution using citizen science

Description: This session will discuss a one-day bioblitz style search for starry stonewort, one of Minnesota's newest aquatic invasive species. Two hundred volunteer citizen scientists fanned out across the state searching for new occurrences of starry stonewort. Upon completion of the event, they had searched 211 public accesses on 178 lakes, and discovered 1 new starry stonewort infestation.