Public Science

citizen science

Expanding the Reach of Science

By bridging the gap between scientists and society, public science opens frontiers to reconcile humans with nature, stewardship approaches and sustainable practices for the Anthropocene. An emerging field that is both a scholarly area of study and a practice for carrying out science in the public sphere, public science draws on areas of communication, open science and citizen science to bring the land-grant mission into the 21st century. Traditionally, researchers would first develop knowledge in specific areas and then to disseminate it to the public through extension education. But today, public science techniques and technologies offer additional options to engage with the public from the beginning to the end of the research process.

Collaborations between scientists and citizens make new discoveries, build mutual trust and help all participants converge on a shared understanding of the world, ensuring that academic institutions remain relevant to society. In an age of increasing controversy and declining trust, multiple federal funding agencies have declared open access, public participation in research, and improved communication of science as national priorities.

Many of our Forestry and Environmental Resources faculty are already participating in public science through their research, including two faculty members who joined the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program Leadership in Public Science. As a one of our core strengths, we plan to become an international leader in:

  • Preparing graduates to be highly competitive with scholarship and skills in science communication and open data stewardship
  • Making unique discoveries by carrying out a broad array of citizen science projects
  • Gaining fundamental insights by studying the design and social and conservation outcomes of citizen science

Meet Our Public Science Faculty