Community science is a collaboration between scientists and public volunteers to gather new knowledge about the world. You don't have to be an expert to get involved. All ages can participate, you can do it as frequently as you're able and the information you help collect helps everyone.
Community science can transform research and communities. For example, over the last 10 years, 31,000 volunteers have classified 350,000 images of space! The Science Museum’s 2017 project Throwing Shade mobilized volunteers and partners from around Richmond to evaluate urban heat vulnerability. Data collected by these diligent volunteers helped show that temperatures in the city during a heat wave can vary as much as 16 °F from the coolest to the warmest places.
Funded by the Institute of the Museum and Library Services, the RVAir project works with community collaborators to help measure air quality in Richmond neighborhoods.
With the support of community partners, measurement of local concentrations of airborne pollution known as particulate matter (PM), will help scientists, residents and policy makers understand how a warming climate impacts Richmond, including the health of residents.
The National Asthma and Allergy Foundation consistently ranks Richmond as the 12th worst city in the U.S. for asthma sufferers. Why might this be?
Air quality ratings for the entire Richmond area are based on data collected that represents the regional "airshed." We know from studies in other cities that local changes in the environment such as wide streets, traffic volume, close proximity to interstates and the number of trees lining streets can significantly change the amount of pollution in the air we breathe at the hyper-local level. Collecting locally specific air quality samples throughout Richmond can inform home-grown solutions to Richmond's climate resiliency challenge.
With collaborative community science projects, you get to be part of the magical journey of science by helping collect important information that will have a positive lasting value.
RVAir has wrapped up for 2023, but we encourage you to check back periodically to see if new opportunities are available.
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Institute of Museum and Library Services MA-20-19-0255-19.