community science


Community team working on environmental issues in Tonawanda, NY on environmental

Forging Equitable Scientist-Community Partnerships for Citizen Science Projects

Jackie James, Founder and Board Chair, and contributions by Dr. Shaun Crawford, Technical Advisor, , UCS

In 2014, I met Shaun Crawford at a Science for Action conference in New Orleans. With similar goals for our communities, we struck up a partnership, realizing science had to converge with civic action and community organizing to affect real change. Read more >

Jackie James
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Elvert Barnes/Flickr

“Fattening” the Curve: Funding Equitable Scientific Research After the Pandemic

Barbara Allen, Professor, , UCS

After the pandemic subsides, we need to build reliable knowledge on the ground about successes and failures in “flattening the curve” in the hardest hit communities during the early phase of the pandemic. What social rhythms were disrupted and what suggested behavior modifications were difficult?  Were they related to infrastructure (i.e. running water, transportation), patterns of financial support (i.e. hazardous employment, paydays), extended family living and caregiving, distrust of government, religious commitments, or other culturally specific activities? Read more >

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Hawaii Sea Grant

In a Snapshot, “Sea” the Future Today

Cuong Tran and Diana Lopera, , UCS

They say that a picture can speak a thousand words … but what if the picture could paint a future 10, 50, 100 years from now? And not just a future that’ll impact one person, but rather the future that will impact many. Through the eyes of concerned community members and the power of community science, we find that things may be closer than they appear. Read more >

Hawaii Sea Grant
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MASA and community members came together for a “science in action” lead resource fair on June 23, 2018 - titled Amani Un|Leaded. Photo: John Saller

Milwaukee Area Science Advocates Collaborate to End Lead Exposure

Anna Miller and Dave Nelson, , UCS

Lead exposure, especially from water in older pipes, is a major health problem in Milwaukee. A 2016 Wisconsin state report on childhood lead poisoning indicated that nearly 11% of children tested in Milwaukee showed elevated blood lead levels, which was double the percentage found in Flint, Michigan. Children from low-income families, especially within the African-American community, are disproportionately affected. Earlier this year, a previous employee of the Milwaukee County Health Department, emailed 15 alderman and Mayor Tom Barrett informing them that the department was not testing water in the homes of lead-poisoned children. This launched an investigation which revealed that the Milwaukee County Health Department failed to notify thousands of parents of the high blood lead levels found in their children, resulting in the resignation of the local health commissioner. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently suspended the Milwaukee lead abatement program after an audit revealed many problems. Read more >

Photo: John Saller
Photo: John Saller
Photo: John Saller
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Photo: W.carter/Wikimedia Commons

If You Smell Something, Say Something: Identifying Local Natural Gas Leaks

Sarah Salois, , UCS

Walking my dog around my neighborhood one day, I caught a whiff of something very clearly – gas. At first, I noted the smell but assumed it was a fleeting odor and chalked it up to urban living. But soon I realized there was nothing fleeting about it.  I take the same route each day, and it became clear that specific locations  persistently smelled strongly of gas. Internal alarm bells went off in my head as I calculated the amount of gas necessary to be detected outside, in open air, uncontained. I asked my neighbors and the local utility company about the leaks – surely, I was not the only one who had noticed the smell, which led to my next question, what was being done about it? I was surprised to find that my neighbors had actually been smelling the leaks and alerting the utility companies for years. YEARS. I was shocked, and I wanted to know more.

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Photo: W.carter/Wikimedia Commons
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