Take Back the Block: Citizen Science as a mechanism for environmental stewardship in socio

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Amanda Sorensen, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
The Baltimore Mosquito Project “Mosquito Stoppers,” is a citizen science collaboration between University of Maryland BC, The Cary Institute, and Rutgers University. This project is aimed at engaging local individuals of West Baltimore in mosquito control. This area of Baltimore has historically been underserved and comprised of majority impoverished and minority residents. This demographic has been underrepresented within the citizen science community both as participants and project leaders. Here, I will talk about the “Take Back the Block” citizen science initiative as a model of a successful citizen science partnership with the west Baltimore community and scientists. Our data show a gradient of individuals’ belief in personal efficacy in mosquito control, perception of mosquito effects on individuals’ lives, and perception of municipal efficacy in meeting public needs. Individuals were less likely to report that mosquitoes kept them from enjoying the outdoors post Mosquito Stoppers participation. Individuals who reported being satisfied with their municipalities handling of mosquitoes and pest dropped by half after participation. Belief in personal efficacy in mosquito remediation also increased post participation. There was no statistically significant difference in mosquito knowledge between pre and post participation of Mosquito Stoppers, yet participants ranked highly in mosquito knowledge at project outset.