NASA GLOBE Observer Citizen Science: Connection, Conversation, and Celebration
“I participate in GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environments) for a lot of reasons. I think I was first attracted to it because I’m a geocacher, and it has a lot of similar elements—being outside, maps, technology. But then, it’s even more than that because it’s also NASA. It’s citizen science, and I really love that I feel part of a larger community,” says GLOBE Observer volunteer Suzi Taylor, kicking off the first ever volunteer panel discussion of the GLOBE Observer community. GLOBE Observer is a citizen science app that allows volunteers to take observations and contribute to the GLOBE community, and this discussion was part of GLOBE Observer Connection, Conversation, Celebration (https://observer.globe.gov/c3), or GO C3, an online event held July 26, 2022, as part of the 2022 GLOBE Annual Meeting (https://annualmeeting2022.globe.gov/) to gather the volunteer community members who participate in the GLOBE Program through GLOBE Observer.
115 people from 41 countries logged on to the two-hour event (285 registered and received the recording later), participating from their time zone – which meant logging on anywhere from the earliest morning hours to very late at night. The event included a welcome from The GLOBE Program director, Dr. Tony Murphy, and NASA Program Manager, Dr. Allison Leidner, GLOBE Observer trivia, a volunteer panel, seven breakout spaces for small group conversations, science highlights reporting how GLOBE Observer data are used, and a question-and-answer session.
The volunteer panelists each submitted a video before the event describing how they participate in GLOBE with GLOBE Observer and how their participation has impacted them. GLOBE Observer intern Allison Swann compiled their submissions into a polished video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ2Q4pIV6mg) centerpiece that was shared to start the conversation during GO C3. Panelists Suzi Taylor (Montana, USA), Suzanne Keyser (Hawaii, USA), Yashraj Patil (Maharashtra, India), Om Prakash Gupta (Uttar Pradesh, India), Allison Swann (Maryland, USA), Nojeem Olanrewaju Sanni (Lagos, Nigeria), and Josiah Diosanta (Quezon City, Philippines) expanded on their video responses in a group discussion.
“I really enjoyed the celebration event and gained so many diverse insights from fellow panelists,” said Yashraj Patil. “It was an honor to be a part of it and share my experiences and view on GLOBE Observer and its diverse set of uses.” The majority of participants who responded to a post-event survey reported that the volunteer panel was their favorite part of the event.
Small group conversations provided opportunities for all participants to share their experiences. Topics included GLOBE Observer in education, clouds and satellite matching, technology and troubleshooting, the future development of GLOBE Observer, volunteering in retirement, meeting fellow observers, and using GLOBE Observer in your community. “I liked the opportunity to interact with experts and other volunteers,” reported one participant, and some asked for longer conversation time.
After reconvening as a full group, the GLOBE Observer team reported back to the volunteer community about how their data have been used in science (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8YNyO-PFWI). Marile Colon Robles (Clouds), Russanne Low (Mosquito Habitats), Peder Nelson (Land Cover) and Brian Campbell (Trees) each reported on recent peer-reviewed scientific publications that use data submitted through GLOBE Observer and/or include GLOBE Observer volunteers as co-authors.
“It was great to see how our observations are being used by scientists,” said one participant. “I like hearing how the observations are applied in a specific way,” said another, “Like the lady [Dr. Low] who showed us the observation that was the first mosquito of its kind in the area.”
The final session of the event gave participants time to ask questions. Though participants were free to ask about anything, all questions were focused on the science supported by GLOBE Observer.
At the conclusion of the event, one participant anonymously commented, “The exciting work that citizen scientists are doing around the world inspires me to do extraordinary things.”
All sessions except the small group discussions were recorded and are available at: https://observer.globe.gov/c3
GLOBE Observer is funded under the NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative (NESEC). NESEC (https://science.nasa.gov/science-activation-team/nesec) is supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AE28A and is part of NASA's Science Activation Portfolio. Learn more about how Science Activation connects NASA science experts, real content, and experiences with community leaders to do science in ways that activate minds and promote deeper understanding of our world and beyond: https://science.nasa.gov/learners