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Citizen Science Symposium: 2017 Symposium Proceedings

This report summarizes the 2nd Annual Citizen Science for Conservation in Southern California Symposium hosted by the Aquarium of the Pacific on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

More than 130 citizen science volunteers and practitioners, educators, students, and others gathered for to learn more about conservation-oriented citizen science opportunities in Southern California. Some of the participating organizations included: the Ocean Science Trust, Heal the Bay, University of Southern California (USC) Sea Grant, the California Academy of Sciences, the California State Water Resources Control Board, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The symposium commenced with a presentation by keynote speaker Mary Ellen Hannibal, who is a Bay Area writer, editor, researcher, citizen scientist, and author of “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction.” The keynote was followed by the Lightning Round Presentations, which were short (5 min) back to back presentations from individuals from a variety of backgrounds including: citizen science participants and program designers, as well as students and educators. During the lunchtime break, a number of symposium attendees participated in an optional BioBlitz in which they used the iNaturalist app to record and submit data from observations of different types of living species found at the nearby Shoreline Aquatic Park. Lunch was followed by moderated panel discussions and special session presentations in which citizen science experts discussed the importance of citizen science, best practices in study design, communication, recruitment and retention. The symposium concluded with an afternoon reception, which included a poster session, book signing from the keynote speaker, resource sharing table, and networking opportunities.

This symposium was made possible by the generous financial support provided by the following event sponsors: The Aquarium of the Pacific, its Marine Conservation Research Institute (MCRI), and Premier.