The same two words we used to describe 2018 summarize our feelings toward 2019: maptastic gratitude. Yep, you read that right! We have so much gratitude for all of the support and ideas generated by our maptastic community partners, citizen scientists, K-12 teachers, youth, donors, and research students. Science works because of people, and we pledge that people will remain at the core of Citizen Science GIS and GeoBus well into the future. We can’t thank you all enough for working with us, inspiring us, supporting science’s next generation, and showing that local knowledge is the key to science.
2019 has been a year of growth for Citizen Science GIS, and we look forward to what’s to come in 2020. It promises to be a mappening year with the launch of the nation’s first GeoBus here in Orlando (the bus moved to our solar partner last week to begin the solar panel installation to power our lab); our 2nd year of fieldwork with our collaborative NSF eelgrass mapping grant with the Smithsonian MarineGeo program, UC-Davis, and Cornell; wrapping up our NSF CNH work around sense of place and coastal restoration in the Indian River Lagoon, FL; another 3 years of funded summer research experiences for undergraduates in Belize (more details in January); a new drone mapping project with Orange County, FL utilities that will provide funded research experiences for UCF students; and more drone tips from our mascot DroneCat. And there might just be a few additional surprises in the works as well.
As we reflect on this year, and look forward to 2020, we are reminded of our main goals: to make science more accessible and understandable, to ensure that society can inform science, and to ensure society benefits from scientific discoveries.
In thinking about our goals, we challenge each of you to continue to support public scholarship in all that you do. Whether that be through innovative research, engaging teaching, community service, or some combination of all of these opportunities. At the end of the day, we hope you will continue to inspire others around you to engage in work that benefits society. We firmly believe that people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all ages can make a difference in science and society.
As we wrap-up 2019, we’ll be taking a few weeks off to recharge and to spend time away from our work with our family and friends. We hope you might be able to do the same. Let’s all get energized for what’s to come in 2020. And remember, our best days are ahead of us. Together, everything is possible.
Here’s to a wonderful holiday season,
Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne and your geo-pals at Citizen Science GIS and GeoBus