Guidelines for Selecting a Site Location
This guide will help you select a study site for your citizen science program.
Table of Contents
Site Selection Considerations (top)
To select a site for your citizen science program, consider:
Good Places to Start (top)
Good places to start looking for potential study sites include city owned natural areas, county parks, state parks, national parks, Nature Conservancy preserves, city parks, and US Fish and Wildlife Refuges. Check your local directories and/or chamber of commerce as well for suggestions! Make a list of potential sites. For each potential site, write down contact information. You may even find it helpful to make a quick map of your region and color in each potential site roughly to get an idea of each site's general location.
An important consideration in site selection is accessibility. How far are your citizen science volunteers willing to drive to access the site? Do you need access to the site for passenger cars? Large buses? Four-wheel drive vehicles? What amount of parking is required? Once you are at the field site, what accessibility does your citizen science program require? What about handicapped access? Do you plan on using trails or does your mapping efforts require off-trail access? Check with the site staff to learn about the rules and regulations of the site (see permits and applications for more details).
Permits and Applications (top)
Many potential field sites require that you obtain a permit to conduct a field samplign training day onsite. For example, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas (in Fort Collins, Colorado) has a permit application that must be filled out, submitted, and approved before a volunteer group can spend a field day at any of the city-owned natural areas.
Site Safety (top)
Many potential field sites may present hazards that will be worth noting. High elevation areas may cauuse shortage of breath for volunteers, for example. Consider terrain, topography, slope, heat exposure, poisonous snakes and insects, and general weather when evaluating your potential study sites.
If your citizen science program involves field trips for local schools, and you expect buses, you may want to consider parking to support buses. It might be a good idea to estimate the total number of vehicles liekly to require parking to ensure that enough spaces are available at each potential study site.
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An IBIS website Updated 5/3/2013