Call us: 607-257-6606
Please note: We are a small, busy team and can’t always answer our phone.
If you leave us a message, we will return your call shortly.
Visit us: 283 Langmuir Lab, 95 Brown Road, Ithaca NY 14850
The mission of the Community Science Institute (CSI) is to foster and support environmental monitoring by volunteers in order to educate the public about natural resources and to collect scientifically credible data for use in protecting the environment and managing natural resources sustainably.
To fulfill our mission with respect to water resources in our region, we broker partnerships between volunteer groups and local government agencies to monitor streams and lakes in the Cayuga Lake watershed and beyond. We recruit and train volunteers, coordinate their monitoring activities, and assure that data produced with volunteer support meet the standards of good science as well as the data quality objectives of local stakeholders. We operate a certified water quality testing laboratory (ELAP #11790) where water samples collected by volunteers are analyzed for bacteria, nutrients, solids and minerals. We archive raw data in MS Excel spreadsheets and make the files publicly available on our website. We offer analyses and interpretations of the water quality of lakes and their feeder streams in the form of narrative summaries based on graphs and tables of key chemical, physical and microbiological parameters. Graphs, tables and summaries of results are posted on our website and updated regularly in order to provide timely information for local decision-making on a range of environmental policy issues.
Is Community Science the same as Citizen Science?
Not quite. Citizen science is growing in popularity among researchers as a way to enlarge the scope of scientific inquiry by engaging volunteers to help collect data. Citizen science projects tend to be regional, national or international in scope. They may involve observational monitoring, the testing of scientific hypotheses, or a combination of the two. Audiences for citizen science projects are generally other research scientists and government agencies at the state, national and international level.
Community science differs from citizen science in some respects. Community science projects focus on local issues and local government. They prioritize observational monitoring and the use of data for science-based management of local resources over hypothesis testing and publication in scientific journals. Community science adheres to the scientific method, and projects may contribute to new scientific knowledge. However, creating new knowledge is secondary to gathering data within a known scientific framework and using results to manage local resources sustainably.
The Community Science Institute is proud to be a Living Wage Employer.