Citizen science is the focus of the last event planned by the Biodiversity Institute whose future is uncertain. This weekend, the Rocky Mountain Citizen Science Conference located in Cody brings scientists involved in projects where people in the community help collect data for science research projects. Community-engaged scientific research is booming.
In the last couple of years, scientists are increasingly reliant on their communities to help them collect data.
Greg Newman, a plant research scientist at the Colorado State University, said he started depending on the community to help him collect data when he couldn't collect it himself.
"We needed more observation of not just weeds on private lands and engaging the public was a way to advance our own scientific research," said Newman.
Newman founded a website, citsci.org, that helps people create and organize citizen science projects. He said the advancement of technology has really helped ensure the data collected by regular people is accurate.
"Devices are making science more accessible and also ensuring quality so more rigor in the instrumentation. You can actually plug little microscopes into your smartphones," he said.
Newman said this conference will help spread information and techniques to everyone involved. Citizen science participants from around the Rocky Mountain region are attending the conference.