In our complex and data driven world, scientists are facing a major challenge to understand and document plant and animal species that may be in the process of disappearing. Climate change, habitat fragmentation, pollution and population growth are among the threats that are pushing some species toward extinction. The good news – and we need some good news these days – is that overwhelmed researchers are getting an assist from a growing number of enthusiastic volunteers. Known as citizen scientists, these volunteers are using their eyes, ears, and observations about the natural world to help scientists find answers to critical questions.
Today’s guest, Mary Ellen Hannibal, counts herself as a citizen scientist, and she’s written a new book about this fascinating subject, called Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction. She is an award-winning author and journalist and a media fellow at Stanford University. Citizen Scientist was named a best book of 2016 by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ms. Hannibal was a guest on our show in 2013 to discuss her earlier book, The Spine of the Continent.