Sigma Xi Speaks: April 2017

by John Nemeth | Apr 19, 2017

john_nemeth_preferred_photo240x187Sigma Xi staff is wrapping up final details as we ready ourselves to board our charter bus bound for the April 22 Washington, DC March for Science. We welcome you to  join us—a few available seats remain—but we also welcome active participation in the satellite marches in and around your hometowns. 

As the first science organization to partner with the worldwide event and serve as a fiscal sponsor for several of the satellite marches, Sigma Xi is proud to stand as a mentor organization that will demonstrate ongoing commitment to the cause. The March is not a one-off. We believe it’s imperative that this apolitical and nonpartisan movement fosters the highest ethical standards and promotes the highest possible quality in all research endeavors, nurturing the basis for continued investment and trust in the scientific research enterprise.

Sigma Xi’s deep involvement in the March for Science therefore resonates with  Citizen Science Day 2017, a monthlong series of regional events celebrating and highlighting ways everyone, young and old, can engage in science to make a difference. I encourage you to participate in the numerous  volunteer opportunities across the country to help the planet.

Our very mission and vision require us to reach out with a sound and robust voice to everyone. Accordingly, growing and diversifying citizen science is one of Sigma Xi’s areas of emphasis. We do this through our  Affiliate Circle program for the public and young researchers, such as undergrads, and through our  Sigma Xi Explorer  program for K–12 students. We are also in the early stages of forming a pilot between our Sigma Xi Explorer program and the GlobalXplorer project, so stay tuned for more details.

Citizen science projects are among the best ways I know to get kids involved in science and spur their enthusiasm. These books introduce youngsters to the concept of citizen science and may help them find projects that capture their interest.

BatCount_CitizenScienceStory_coverBat Count: A Citizen Science Story, by Anna Forrester, illustrated by Susan Detwiler (ages 4–9): Readers follow Jojo and her family as they perform an annual bat count on their farm, helping res earchers learn about the impact of white-nose disease. 

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard, by Loree Griffin Burns, illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz (ages 8–12): Focusing on projects involving frogs, ladybugs, butterflies, and birds, this inspiring book describes the work of citizen scientists of all ages and how their data can aid research.

Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, by Mary Ellen Hannibal (teens and up): A compelling memoir by a terrific storyteller. Hannibal describes how her work as a citizen scientist helped her cope with grief and live her life more fully.

Those interested in getting the whole family involved as citizen scientists—an approach I heartily recommend—may want to check out Citizen Science Guide for Families: Taking Part in Real Science, by Greg Landgraf.

Getting outside and making scientific observations together can be great family fun, while also helping kids see how their contributions can make a difference. “Citizen Science Saturdays” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Thank you for being a science advocate. Help us celebrate science by contributing in ways large and small, because it makes a difference in the world.

Sincerely,

john-nemeth-signature-200

John C. Nemeth, PhD
Executive Director and CEO
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
Publisher of American Scientist

Sigma Xi Speaks is a monthly series of information that we hope you share with others.

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