NOAA Summer Spotlight: LiMPETS!By: Monika Krach 06 July 2016
LiMPETS is a youth-based citizen science program that monitors the coastal ecosystems of California and helps students understand, value, and participate in science. Science teachers leverage this novel project to demonstrate the scientific process, fulfill education standards, and inspire over 6,000 students a year in environmental stewardship. Beyond the educational value of the program, the power of LiMPETS lies in the large quantity of data collected at more than 60 sites and over 600 miles of coastline. To fulfill its dual purpose of scientific advancement of intertidal ecology and science literacy among California youth, LiMPETS’ training and field protocols are tailored to young learners and have been iteratively improved over the past 15 years since the creation of the program.
Students use the LiMPETS dataset for various science communication projects including to create posters for scientific conferences and write blogs to disseminate information to the general public. High school students analyzed intertidal data to communicate ecological trends to scientists at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting and the Monterey Currents Symposium. Sharing their research makes students more confident in their scientific abilities and enables them to dialogue with the public about real-world ocean problems and conservation. A recent publication by Dr. Heidi Ballard from UC Davis revealed the incredible value of the LiMPETS program and reinforced the impact of citizen science; contributing to real science influenced young learners’ environmental science agency, which is the use of science participation as a foundation for action related to environmental sustainability (Ballard 2016).
LiMPETS is a collaborative effort among the Greater Farallones Association, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, and California’s national marine sanctuaries. Visit http://limpets.org for more information.