AEMERA partners with Miistakis Institute to involve Albertans in environmental monitoring
The Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) is partnering with the Miistakis Institute at Mount Royal University to explore how citizen science can inform and guide environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting efforts in Alberta.
Citizen science is the engagement of citizens with scientists to address real world questions. The role of volunteers can be diverse, from citizens contributing field observations, to sorting or classifying images from their home computers, to identifying relevant research questions to address a local concern.
The benefits of citizen science to scientists are clear. More people can collect more data, over much larger geographical areas, ultimately leading to the creation of big data.
Citizen science can result in better management decisions and can be used to inform policy. The increased flow of information between citizens, researchers, and decision makers improves transparency, accountability and outcomes.
Citizen science programs lead to advanced scientific knowledge, enhanced stewardship of biodiversity and ecological systems, cost efficiencies and enhanced data collection – -which benefits all Albertans.
“This project marks the first step in including citizen science in the business of AEMERA. Collaboration between AEMERA scientists and volunteers expands opportunities for scientific data collection and advances environmental outcomes. Citizen science allows for the enhanced understanding and engagement of communities and the public – a key priority for AEMERA,” said Jay Nagendran, President and CEO of AEMERA.
Work is underway to establish a program inventory of citizen science initiatives in Alberta, and to learn how other scientific agencies, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, use citizen science to inform their environmental programs and initiatives.
“The Miistakis Institute has seen first-hand the benefit of a citizen science approach, which is the duality of advancing environmental outcomes while enhancing citizen engagement. AEMERA is demonstrating leadership in exploring how citizen science can be used to advance environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting in Alberta and we are excited to be working with AEMERA to profile citizen science in Alberta,” said Danah Duke, Executive Director of the Miistakis Institute.
The Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) is an arm’s length provincial agency responsible for measuring, assessing and informing policy makers and the public on the condition of Alberta’s environment on key ambient air, water, land and biodiversity indicators including information necessary to understand cumulative effects. http://aemera.org/
The Miistakis Institute is an applied non-profit research institute affiliated with Mount Royal University, and is recognized as a leader in the field of citizen science in Alberta. The Miistakis Institute has been designing and implementing citizen science projects to advance conservation for over a decade. http://www.rockies.ca.
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