Share your data by providing the simplest possible tools or methods for data visualization, evaluation, and data download. Track your results using internal databases, share your results to outside groups, and create a public community that sustains your project’s momentum.
Track your results internally
After you have completed your project—or at least a segment of it—report what you have done so the Forest Service as a whole can know what you’re doing and can better support and communicate your efforts.
- VSReports – The Volunteer and Service Reports database is used to report partnerships, participants, activities, and outcome data for all Volunteers & Service programs and projects.
- NICE – The NatureWatch, Interpretation and Conservation Education database (NICE) is used to report all Conservation Education, NatureWatch, Interpretation and related programs for which the Forest Service provides funds and/or staff time. For the purposes of reporting, an accomplishment is defined as an educational program, experience and/or activity that enables people to understand and appreciate natural resources and learn how to conserve them for future generations. See the NICE User’s Manual.
- Natural Resource Manager (NRM) – The Natural Resource Manager (NRM) is a system of database tools for managing Agency data across the Forest Service and for most of the agency's natural resource business areas. The NRM includes: Forest Service ACtivity Tracking System (FACTS), Infrastructure (Infra), Natural Resource Information System (NRIS), and Timber Information Manager (TIM) applications.
- Treesearch – The Forest Service tracks citizen science research through keywords in research publications. If you publish an academic paper on your citizen science work, use ‘citizen science’ in your article keywords so it can easily be found in Treesearch.
Share your data externally
Data is more useful and can have a greater impact if it's shared beyond your individual project. Information from the Forest Service is served to the public in the following databases:
- Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) – The EDW is a repository of Forest Service data with the goal of integrating data from various sources in formats that can be easily used for reporting and analysis and that can be shared across the agency. By entering quality data into NRM, your data will automatically be refreshed in the EDW. Additionally, these authoritative datasets are made accessible to everyone through applications such as ESRI ArcGIS Online.
- Data.gov – This website provides descriptions of the Federal datasets (metadata), information about how to access the datasets, and tools that leverage government datasets. Data from the EDW is also shared with data.gov.
- Geospatial Platform – The Geospatial Platform is a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services, and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure for use by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs.
Share your results
Report the results of your project and how it’s used to further land management or science. You can do this through written project reports, technical guides, peer-reviewed publications, presentations at conferences, public webinars, or by using modern technologies such as ESRI Story Maps. Ensure that when your project comes to an end, you have a public-facing presentation of the results instead of an abandoned-looking website.
- Citizen Science Association – The Citizen Science Association aims to bring together the expertise of diverse practitioners working in the field of citizen science to share the breadth of resources and best practices across different citizen science project types. Share your peer-reviewed publications at the Citizen Science Association’s annual conference and in their science journal – Citizen Science: Theory and Practice.
- Federal Projects Catalog – The General Services Administration tracks federal citizen science projects through the Federal Projects Catalog. The purpose of this catalog is to improve cross-agency collaboration, reveal opportunities for new high-impact projects, and make it easier for volunteers to find projects they can join. Submit your project to the catalog and it will be reviewed by the Washington Office before it goes live.
- Forest Service Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing Community of Practice (FSCCS) – The goal of the FSCCS is to create a virtual meeting space where participants can network, learn from colleagues and partners, connect to resources and information, and be inspired to develop new projects or expand their current crowdsourcing and citizen science projects. These monthly calls are open to anyone (Forest Service, partners and general public). To learn about upcoming webinars and sessions, join our mailing list. If you have a project you’d like to highlight or get feedback on, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line, “Presentation”, and we’ll get you on the schedule!
Create a community
Establish a social media account, iNaturalist group, or other designated place where people can create a community surrounding your project and keep its energy flowing. Reach out to new volunteers and partners and connect their projects with your own through in-person gatherings, conferences, and volunteer events. Host educational follow-ups and presentations, and let people know how their contributions have been used.
The links below should get you started. Make sure to celebrate Citizen Science Day with your partners and community on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
Post your accomplishments online with the following resources. To catch more attention, include photos and/or video of volunteers in your posts. Photos tend to be more interesting if they feature people working on the project rather than merely smiling for the camera.
- Facebook & Twitter – Social media platforms are great avenues to let people know about your project (see the official Forest Service Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Flickr). Individual forests and partners often have social media accounts where you can share your announcements. For example, if your project is based on the Tongass National Forest and has Trout Unlimited as a partner, post your content on the official Tongass National Forest Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr pages as well as Trout Unlimited Facebook and Twitter.
- Blog post – Consider writing a blog post about your project that can be shared on the social media pages discussed above. There are many websites where you can write a blog post, such as the Forest Service Citizen Science Stories, Forest Service Blog, the Federal CitSci Blog.
- Hashtags – You may want to include hashtags to help people find your post, such as #CitizenScience #CitSci, #CitSciDay, #DiscovertheForest, or any other tag related to your post that would bring it to the top of search results. Associate it with the Forest Service by using an official handle such as
- Flickr – Upload the photos you take during your project and upload them to your Forest’s Flickr account. Flickr can make your photos easier to access and share in large sizes.