RCN: EyesNorth - A Research Coordination Network of Community-Based Observing Initiatives in the Arctic and Beyond
Despite a rapid increase in citizen-acquired environmental observations (e.g., citizen science) no cohesive set of best practices or corresponding theories exists for building a broad science of Community-Based Observing (CBO). Current terms and meanings concerning community-based observing networks, community based monitoring, citizen science, and community observer blogs activities are often used interchangeably. Each, however, constitutes a different type of effort along a CBO continuum. By clearly defining what these activities are and what information they can contribute we can better help communities adapt to changing environmental conditions. The EyesNorth Research Coordinating Network (RCN) will involve a range of practitioners, from Native communities to federal agencies, to develop both a science and practice of CBO that will provide the critical connection between observing change and community preparedness and response.
The EyesNorth RCN will coordinate activities around training and education-outreach programs among partners to generate and communicate the best practices for adoption across diverse monitoring activities. The EyesNorth RCN seeks to develop a science of Community-Based Observing leveraging core theories in resilience and adaptation science. It has four objectives that are co-developed with a range of partners from across the circumpolar North countries including Canada, Russia, the United States, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Greenland. The network objective will achieve coordination across activities and organizations currently utilizing CBO for monitoring socio-environmental change in the Arctic and Subarctic. It will create a diverse, transdisciplinary network of users, scientists, and practitioners. The science objective will advance theory to build a science of CBO by developing new and refining existing theoretical connections among disciplines that drive the science of CBO in order to expand and enhance the transferability of adaptation actions by communities on the ground. The sustainability objective will define best practices across the CBO continuum including international data sharing protocols and protections that ensure Indigenous Knowledge and Local Place Based Knowledge are appropriately applied and determined by communities themselves.
The education and training objective will ensure that best practices are co-developed rather than imposed and, through partnerships with communities from the Western United States, we will ensure transferability of lessons learned. These partnerships will: a) co-define a range of technology-enabled approaches that enable linked, scalable, and usable data for a range of end-users that will help inform management decisions whose actions affect the resilience of local communities ? where ?data? refers to the breadth of information about the world we live in; and b) transfer these approaches to produce practices that can be applied nationally and internationally. We will develop data and metadata standards necessary to facilitate the sharing of knowledge between researchers and communities which can serve as baselines for future CBO programs while also expanding the scope of current efforts so as to transfer and implement CBO in diverse communities and settings in the Western U.S. We engage with Industry, research and resource management practitioners about the types of data acquisition technologies most amenable to different types of CBO. Ultimately, the EyesNorth RCN will coalesce, for the first time, a broad range of CBO practitioners to design and leverage collaborative and equitable training and education activities with partners in the Arctic and Western U.S. yielding a science of CBO that can enhance the well-being and quality of life for all Americans.