The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network: Enhancements to increase participation for tens of thousands in an important nationwide climate-literacy project
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network is an existing backyard citizen science project that is enhancing the research efforts of scientists and promoting climate literacy among the public by engaging volunteers in precipitation-monitoring activities. More than 14,000 volunteer citizen scientists of all ages in 50 states currently measure precipitation from their homes, schools, public areas and businesses using rain gauges, snow rulers and hail pads, and then post their data to the CoCoRaHS website. Building on this work, the current Broad Implementation project is enhancing CoCoRaHS' network and making it possible for more people from across the country to monitor precipitation. The enhancements include (1) installing a new generation of data entry, storage, management, analysis and visualization tools, (2) collecting evapo-transpiration data to improve scientists' water cycle models, (3) revising and creating new citizen science training materials (print and multimedia), (4) expanding national collaboration and outreach via integration of social networking and mobile device technologies, and (5) developing a standards-aligned K-12 education outreach component that has a national reach. Citizen scientists are being equipped and trained to be neighborhood climate data analysts and are provided with new tools for data analysis and inquiry learning. The enhancements will allow new collaborations between museums and science centers, targeted outreach to underserved audiences, and recruitment of thousands of new volunteers for the CoCoRaHS network. Through a partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts, the project will conduct educational outreach to all 3,140 counties in the country. Anticipated results include increased numbers of people, particularly younger people, participating in precipitation-monitoring activities, and increased participant knowledge, skills, interest, and involvement in climate science and scientific inquiry. Building the project's capacity to involve 20,000-50,000 more volunteers across nation will increase the density of precipitation-monitoring stations, providing scientists with higher quality weather data.
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