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141 Chapter 7 MAPPING THE ROUTE FROM CITIZEN SCIENCE TO ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP Integrating Adaptive Management and Civic Ecology Practice Rebecca Jordan I enjoy asking questions and trying to find answers to them, and hope that as a group we can make an actual difference in our community. (Collaborative Science participant, New Jersey) Sitting around a table in a small, suburban New Jersey town, church members express concern about water quality in their building. Immediately the conversation turns from information gleaned from the Internet to water filtration and sustainability goals for the community. The group seems divided between individuals who have lived in town for a while and take pride in it, and younger transient students and newcomers. This community really has thought about environmental issues a lot and they’ve had . . . a long-standing deep commitment to the environment as a social justice issue. (female suburban New Jersey resident) Whereas a newcomer comments [Becoming involved in this issue] would be a great opportunity for the kids to see me sort of struggle through and try to figure out . . . and in the process of becoming more involved, and I am only just recently involved. As somebody who is moving here, I am already having conversations with my wife about [water quality as parents]. This is a pretty imminent issue for us. (male suburban New Jersey resident) 142 KNOWLEDGE BUILDING A third resident expresses pessimism regarding whether factors beyond residents ’ control might impact their ability to attain township-level sustainability goals: I sense that part of the economic and racialized disparities in New Jersey are sort of bolstered by access to potable water and other resources . . . municipal wealth as being something that impacts everything. (male suburban New Jersey resident) South of New Jersey, in West Baltimore, Maryland, neighborhood residents also talk about an environmental issue of concern. Here again pessimism regarding personal action is rampant: That trash pile in the same space has been there since I was six years old. . . . [I] called the city about it. [The] trash truck comes on Thursday morning, and it will be like that [filled with trash] by Thursday evening. The community sees it as normal. . . . The thing is: how do we start teaching people that this is not normal. . . . Do they not care, or is it just other things going on like murders and stuff that have more value? . . . At some point I decided to make an issue about that pile. Every day I call the city . . . and they have a system. . . . Then you will get an e-mail or call. [They say]“We see it, but you need to report it with the address.” And I was like, I reported it and you know what I meant. . . . It is like they are playing a game. . . . I get worn down, every time I call. (male West Baltimore resident) When asked who else in the group of seven residents has experienced this, all nod. However, when asked who continues to call, again all nod. The same resident asks:“Do the citizens even know it is a problem? We have a right [to not having trash], but it is just normal.” When the discussion moves to abandoned buildings and vacant lots, another group member states,“Vacancy is part of the culture of Baltimore City.”Suggesting an emerging civic ecology practice, a fellow resident responds: This person . . . did an illegal act of beautifying [by a series of plantings in a park], but if we make a big deal, they will get cited, and then what will happen? (female West Baltimore resident) Despite differences in concerns and a shared pessimism about the efficacy of their actions, the desire to take action among residents in suburban New Jersey and inner-city West Baltimore is clear. In both places, residents have volunteered to be part of Collaborative Science, a program that seeks to facilitate adaptive management of water, urban open space, and other resources. In this chapter, CHAPTER 7 143 I introduce Collaborative Science, the literature that frames it, and preliminary outcomes of the New Jersey and Baltimore cases. In so doing, I explore how by incorporating structured opportunities for participants to reflect on, question, and test their ideas about what leads to change in their communities, Collaborative Science seeks to overcome barriers to adaptive management and foster conservation outcomes in citizen science and civic ecology practices. What Is Collaborative Science? Collaborative Science integrates citizen science and participatory modeling with a goal of engaging citizens in local conservation action. Engaging residents...


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