Community science refers to public participation in the scientific process, especially to achieve community (rather than institutional) goals.
For communities facing environmental issues, collecting scientific data can be a powerful tool to investigate problems and document environmental and health impacts on communities.
These resources provide more information about community science:
Official government website designed to facilitate crowdsourcing and citizen science across the U.S. The site provides an overview of citizen science, step-by-step guides to participating in projects, and a library of resources and examples. It also provides a searchable catalog of existing projects.
An organization made up of over 550 former EPA staff, the Environmental Protection Network provides free technical assistance to environmental justice communities and organizations to help them navigate EPA processes, other federal processes, and get publicly available data. Volunteers from the Environmental Protection Network can help you interpret EPA publications, permit terms, environmental impact statements, regulations, and policies. To request assistance, please contact Kathy Pope, Development Director and Community Outreach Associate, at email@example.com.
The Center for Applied Environmental Science seeks to advance environmental justice by ensuring that communities and environmental advocates have access to high-quality science and engineering expertise. CAES provides grants to community organizations and NGOs from about $3,000 to $30,000 to hire scientists and engineers to assist with permitting and siting decisions, legal challenges, and rulemaking efforts. They have built a roster of over twenty-five experts with a wide range of skills, including air dispersion modeling, watershed modeling, engineering, hydrology, geology, remediation, exposure assessment, acoustics, and urban planning. For more information, please contact Abel Russ, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connects communities with scientists who can help them conduct testing and research. Thriving Earth Exchange volunteers help communities define scientific questions, design protocols, collect and analyze data, and apply this scientific knowledge to help with decision-making. Here are examples of current and past projects. For more information, please contact Natasha Udu-gama, Manager, Community and International Relations: NUduemail@example.com.
Provides a project finder tool for citizens to search for ongoing projects that might match your project focus. If you’re interested in citizen science generally, this site also provides citizen science news and other interesting resources.
Anecdata allows you to locate existing projects as well as design your own. Once you start a project, you can invite your community to join through the Anecdata app. Using the app, you can collect pictures, record observations, and input other data that will be saved as part of your community project. The website also includes helpful information about best practices for citizen science projects and a community forum.
Similar to Anecdata, Zooniverse allows users to search for existing projects as well as design new ones, which you can share with neighbors. You can also find resources for how to most effectively design your own project. Zooniverse also has a smartphone app.
Esri StoryMaps provide a user-friendly interface that allows users to create interactive maps with photos and text. This is not a data collection tool. Rather, it’s an advocacy tool that can be used to communicate your scientific findings to a wide audience. With StoryMaps, you can create a strong visual narrative that’s easy to publish and share.
HERCULES supports a variety of environmental health research and aims to engage with community stakeholders to inform research and share findings. They provide community resources, including short summaries of research conducted by HERCULES scientists and Atlanta environmental health resources.
Part of EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program, the myRTK app allows users to search and identify nearby facilities that report to the TRI Program as well as facilities with EPA air, water, or hazardous waste program permits. Users can also see the effects associated with pollutants and the compliance history of discharging facilities.
This EPA online tool allows you to search for environmental information based on your location. It provides summaries on state environmental reports, health risks, air and water quality, land contamination, and other topics.
The Environmental Law Institute published a report analyzing case studies of citizen science programs at environmental agencies focused on air pollution, water pollution, and enforcement of environmental laws using community-collected data.