published April 11, 2014

What's Happening in SENCER-ISE: Practice Makes Perfect: RVCC Students Prepare for Citizen Science Training Workshops

Hailey Chenevert, NCSCE

The SENCER-ISE partnerships are now deep into their projects using compelling civic issues to forge lasting and valuable connections between formal and informal science educators. To share the great work they are doing with our community, we have started a new feature for the eNews on partnership activities. To learn more about the initiative and the partnerships, visit the SENCER-ISE website, found here .

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and the New Jersey Audubon are partnering to integrate classroom work with citizen science field research to address forest health in central New Jersey.

On April 12 and 26, 2014, students in Dr. Jay Kelly's Environmental Field Studies course at RVCC will be facilitating training workshops for volunteer citizen scientists who have been recruited by the New Jersey Audubon. The citizen scientists will be doing invasive plant surveys. In preparation for these workshops, the students held a practice session during their class on Monday, April 7, 2014.

Ellen Mappen, SENCER-ISE Project Coordinator, was pleased to join Dr. Kelly, Dr. Nellie Tsipoura from the NJ Audubon, and the students during this practice session. The student teams presented information they had researched about invasive plants. The end result will be a field manual in CD format for the citizen scientists to reference in their work. The presentations included background information about the distribution and economic cost of invasive species, along with the impact on birds, offered examples of the different species of invasive and native herbaceous plants and woody shrubs, and discussed survey protocols and materials.

Reflecting on her visit, Dr. Mappen says, "I was incredibly impressed by the students' broad range of knowledge and their ability to think through the questions that were asked by Drs. Kelly, Tsipoura, and by me. I was excited to observe the deep interest the students showed in their topics, and their seriousness and enjoyment in presenting their work."

More information on the Raritan Valley Community College and New Jersey Audubon partnership, and the April citizen scientist workshops will be featured in the SENCER/NCSCE eNews in May.