NW PARC 2015 Annual Meeting: Citizen Science
We held our 8th annual NW PARC meeting and workshop at the Embassy Suites in downtown Portland, OR. The event focused on expanding science knowledge and ecological literacy through citizen science and occurred in conjunction with the Society of Northwest Vertebrate Biology (SNVB) conference, 24-27 February 2015. We heard from over a dozen citizen science experts from several organizations in the Portland area and further afield. We also heard some personal stories and experiences from a handful of citizen scientists involved with the Southwest Washington Amphibian Monitoring Project (SWAMP).
Our day started with an introduction to National PARC, including PARC's new Habitat in Focus campaign from Jen Williams. The goal of this campaign is to identify, create, manage, and restore high-quality habitat for herpetofauna (for more information, visit www.parcplace.org/parcplace/news-a-events/habitat-in-focus.html). Sharman Apt Russell, award-winning author of "Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World", then delivered a memorable keynote address that explored many aspects of citizen science involvement from classifying galaxies to counting tree frogs. An array of presentations followed that focused on citizen science research, data collection projects, and programs. The importance of partnerships was emphasized repeatedly, as well as the reality that much of the data could not be collected without the efforts of everyday citizens. Finally, Dede Olson presented an update on amphibian diseases, most notably the very recent emergence of the salamander chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, which, though not yet in North America, has decimated fire salamander populations in Europe.
We would like thank each of the speakers for sharing their inspiring words, knowledge and perspectives about citizen science. We greatly appreciate our steering committee members for their efforts to help secure speakers for this event, and the SNVB conference organizers for all of their hard work and dedication leading up to and during the conference. We also kindly acknowledge Northwest Ecological Research Institute for sponsoring the meeting and workshop and those that donated to the silent auction fundraiser. Please check out the detailed list below for acknowledgments! Your contributions help support NW PARC's ongoing efforts to conserve reptiles and amphibians, and their habitats.