[Taxacom] Citizen Science

Mike Sadka sadkamike at gmail.com
Sun Oct 26 06:57:49 CDT 2014

I recently encouraged my 7-year old niece to keep some tadpoles, and was
surprised to hear of the disapproving comments she and my sister received
while collecting a few in a local park.

Middle-class people, in the UK at least, can be disapproving even of that
(which is arguably doing the tadpoles a favour I feel).

The fortuitous silver lining was that it spurred my enraged sister into
becoming a determined and assiduous tadpole carer!

On Sun, Oct 26, 2014 at 8:32 AM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>

> [Message split to avoid over-long ranting. Who, me?]
> You also may not appreciate that some traditional means of intellectual
> sharing are dying out for good reason. Natural history clubs aren't
> generally as big as they once were, and their memberships are aging.
> This does *not* mean that younger people aren't interested in natural
> history. It means that if you're under 30, the last thing you want to do to
> further your interests is join a formal society of old folks, pay
> membership fees, go to monthly meetings and vote on procedures and
> constitutions and insurance etc. This applies to many other
> special-interest societies, not just natural history clubs.
> If you're under 30, you prefer to share and further your interests any
> time at all online, with a huge community of like-minded people, for free.
> There's also a subset of the population who are asocial, for any number of
> personality or other reasons. They might have real talent and interest in
> some aspect of natural history study, but formal clubs aren't for them. For
> social (and geographical!) isolates, the Net offers a fantastic opportunity
> to share and contribute.
> Once upon a time, too, the standard means for sharing knowledge about some
> subject was a book, which meant finding or becoming a publisher, and
> putting up with the constraints of book format. In 2014, the most effective
> means of sharing knowledge is a website or a Facebook page. Cheaper, faster
> to generate, enormously larger capacity to store information, unbeatable
> capacity to update and correct, enormously larger audience.
> There are still very good field guides being published on paper, although
> many of them are also available as e-books. Many young scientists I know,
> and probably most young naturalist, want those guides as apps for a
> smartphone, or at least in digital form to be carried into the field on a
> tablet.
> To encourage and promote intellectual sharing among young naturalists,
> build a website or Facebook page for your special interest. The decline of
> nature club membership and nature-book sales reflects a change in the
> preferred media for information exchange, not a decline in interest in
> nature.
> --
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
> School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania
> Home contact:
> PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
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