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The USGS has a number of well-known citizen science efforts. The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), a well-known USGS program started in 1966, tracks the status and trends of North American bird populations.  Citizens collect important bird observations which are used to track abundance. Did You Feel It? is a website sponsored by the Earthquake Program that asks citizens to report ground shaking during an earthquake. Volunteers for the National Phenology Network monitor the life cycles of animals and plants and help digitize records of bird and animal distribution that date back to the 19th century. Many other USGS citizen science efforts, many championed by individual scientists in distributed centers, are not as well known to one another nor to the USGS at large. A forum for exchanging information could potentially provide immediate benefit to these projects and increase the visibility of these projects within and outside the USGS. Potential citizen science project leaders might need answers to these questions:

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An immediate and significant workshop product outcome will be the formation of an ongoing community-based infrastructure for sharing ideas, data, and support. Additionally the workshop will provide a venue for:

  • initiating Initiating projects that might span multiple mission areas;
  • showcasing Showcasing USGS tools, including new mobile applications, supporting field observations and data collection; and
  • exploring Exploring innovative techniques, such as whether mining data from social media can improve interdisciplinary scientific decision making.;
  • creating Creating or strengthening partnerships and open opening dialogue channels with existing citizen science focused working groups such as DataOne's Public Participation in Science and Research (PPSR), Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Citizen Science Central, and others.  leveraging activities from and minimizing overlap with partner groups.

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Enhancing and expanding partnerships will provide important opportunities for the USGS research community to:

  • Foster cross group pollination

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  • , both internally and externally;
  • Exchange and communicate ideas, plans, and focus among groupsLeverage activities of DataOne's PPSR and Cornell group;
  • Identify new avenues and approaches for research; and
  • Increase efficiency and effectiveness of their projects by leveraging activities and resources and minimizing overlap with partner groups.

In addition to directly supporting the USGS's internal program of research, the results of this workshop could have additional societal benefits including:

  • making Making USGS science more approachable and understandable to students, teachers, and the general public;
  • expanding Expanding science knowledge and scientific literacy among citizen science volunteers (Bonney, et al., 2009); and
  • encouraging Encouraging positive participation in the President's America’s Great Outdoors and DOI's Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiatives.

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