Citizen Science: Connecting Time, Place and Purpose

Monday, April 19, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM



As Earth Day approaches, join a discussion with Mary Ellen Hannibal, Smith alum '81, award-winning journalist and

Bay Area author of "Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction," to learn how members

of the general public are taking to the great outdoors as 'citizen scientists' - collecting and recording data on 

their smartphones to aid professional scientists in researching changes in the natural world.


Hannibal asserts that 'today, citizen scientists are by far the most powerful source of information we have about biodiversity, enabling observation on the scales at which nature actually operates...patterns that wouldn't be evident without its contributions." She will discuss the deep ties of citizen science with indigenous and Western scientific traditions and review current ecological crises, local to global, and point out ways to get involved. 


"If Charles Darwin had carried a smartphone equipped with iNaturalist in 1835, he would have instantly sent ornithologist John Gould photographs of finches from the Galapagos Islands." As chronicled in her book, the practice of nonscientists, such as writers and naturalists, contributing to scientific research is 'as old as the human need to understand our environment."  


Prompted by her novelist father's sudden death, Hannibal connects the activity of bearing witness to nature today

with a broad inquiry into time, place, and purpose. "When people make direct observations of nature, they don't just take

a photograph - they make a connection. Many become activists and help support the natural world we depend on and love."



  About Mary Ellen Hannibalmary-ellen

 Mary Ellen Hannibal is an award-winning journalist and author from the Bay Area. Her most recent book, "Citizen Scientist: Searching for   Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction," was named one of the best titles of 2016 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Her previous books   include "The Spine of the Continent," about which Publisher's Weekly said, "This is what science writing should be: fascinating and true."   Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, Nautilus, and many other publications. Here Stanford TEDx talk discusses hawk migrations and her TEDWomen talk addresses butterflies.   



Topic: Citizen Science: Connecting Time, Place and Purpose

Date: Monday, March 19, 2021

Time: 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EST)

Limit: 100 participants

Cost: Free to Members and Non-members


Click to Register

You must be registered before 4:30 PM on Monday, April 19. 

The Zoom link and password details will be shared by 5:00 PM on the day prior to the event and again, two hours before the event start.