CUSA research associate Tera Dornfeld worked as a teen team facilitator for the citizen science organization, The Earthwatch Institute, over the summer. The aim of the teen field trips was to engage teenagers in the collection of scientific data, as many had never had a close experience with nature being from inner-city Los Angeles.
Dornfeld assisted teens in the data collection process, helping them to understand the reasoning behind the data collection as well as to refine their data collection techniques for two separate projects. The first was working with a marine biologist from the University of Redlands, based for the summer in Dana Point. She also assisted researchers developing an app to work with citizens along the California coast, using the citizens’ whale sightings to contribute to an online data base.
Lastly, Dornfeld partnered with researchers from UC Merced and the South Yuba River Citizens League to examine meadow diversity and health in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The teens were taught to measure very important Aspen trees within the meadows as well as pine trees, encroaching into the meadow and ‘stealing’ water from the other meadow species. They also collected information about stream health and flew small planes to collect aerial survey data.
For more information on the Earthwatch Institute, please visit earthwatch.org.