Visiting the White House for Citizen Science

The field of citizen science has just been elevated in a dramatic way.

In a September 30 forum on citizen science, The White House released a memo on crowdsourcing and citizen science and a toolkit designed to help agencies build, manage and gain value from citizen science projects. Included in the memo are mandates for agencies to designate a specific citizen science liaison and list their public projects on a federal website.

Issued by White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren, these announcements recognize that if done properly, volunteer data collection can be a valuable tool for government agencies and for the future of science.

Treinish (center) trains a group of volunteers on sampling protocols for an ASC project studying microplastic pollution in the Gallatin watershed. (Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

This is a coup for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), the organization I founded in 2011, as well as for other organizations in the field, from social work to engineering to cloud computing.

“New technologies—from low cost sensors and other types of monitoring instruments, to increasingly ubiquitous and powerful smartphones, to the rapid expansion of high speed internet connectivity—are facilitating citizen science on a scale that was simply unimaginable just a few years ago,” Holdren said in his keynote. “We can harness this new technological infrastructure to advance both scientific discovery and the realization of policy objectives that will lead to better outcomes for all Americans.”

Trail runners Sarah McCloskey and Craig Lloyd on their way to check a camera trap for the ASC Uinta Carnivore Survey. (Photo by Garret Smith |

The ASC model of mobilizing the outdoor community to gather conservation data captures the essence of Holdren’s call to action. Look to our work <a target="_blank" —> Read More