“Amazing is the only way I could explain it.” That’s the review from a student participant in Citizen Science, one of the many Aquarium outreach programs that exists with your support. This hands-on, inquiry-based marine science education program is designed to stimulate science inquiry in historically underrepresented high school students in the Puget Sound area.
In 2016, the program completed its tenth year with approximately 440 students and 14 teachers from 13 schools collecting nearshore monitoring datasets on 14 local beaches. These datasets are available to and used by governmental and environmental agencies including Washington State Parks and the City of Seattle. Said one teacher, “The program provides valuable real-world experience with science—there is no substitute for it that would be possible in the classroom. It definitely helped me achieve my goal of getting the students familiar with a real field study and how to conduct one.”
Citizen Science allowed me to have my first experience with a formal research project in a real-world situation rather than a classroom lab. It increased my interest in pursuing a career in science because I like how we got to get outside to "work." I am more aware of my surroundings at the beach now; I learned that there are so many more organisms on the beach than I had previously thought, and I feel a more heightened desire to protect the environment in order to preserve these organisms. Sticking with the long-term project taught me to persevere and motivated me to pursue answers to my questions.