Paper No. 313-11
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM
A CITIZEN SCIENCE APPROACH TO GROUNDWATER MONITORING: THE IMPACTS OF PARTICIPATION ON KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT
Citizen science is the participation of non-scientists in the collection of scientific data and other aspects of the scientific process. While public participation in science is not new, this approach to research has become increasingly common in the past two decades. Despite the increasing popularity of this approach, due to the technologically complex and expensive techniques typically required to take hydrological measurements, its use in water related sciences has been primarily limited to monitoring of surface water quality or measurement of precipitation amounts. In this paper, we present the results of a study that involved citizen scientists in the monitoring of groundwater levels and subsequent characterization of the water table on Bogue Banks, North Carolina. The data and results presented here aim to fill the gap in the literature regarding relationships between citizen science, scientific knowledge, and environmental attitudes in a hydrogeological context. Specifically, we use a pretest-posttest survey design to assess the effects of participation in a citizen science groundwater monitoring project on participants’ knowledge of hydrologic concepts, and attitudes toward science and the environment. Further, by examining participants’ perceptions regarding causes of and impacts from localized stormwater flooding as well as climate change more generally, we explore the potential ways that citizen science can contribute to improved management of water resources. We found that participation in the citizen science project increased knowledge of hydrological concepts, but did not change attitudes toward science and the environment.