Editor’s Choice: What helps people connect with science on a personal level? Insights into this question may emerge in a new, compelling project coming out of Alaska. The investigators of “Winterberry” have designed this interdisciplinary project to integrate different ways of knowing and meaning-making into more familiar forms of participatory data collection. Their motivation? Making their work matter to Alaskan communities. The uncertainty of future berry harvests is not only the subject of scientific investigation, but it will also be the theme of storytelling workshops. –AWA–

Excerpt: Across Alaska, berry harvests have begun in earnest—and, this year, so has a project in which Alaskans will help track their berry patches scientifically. The new National Science Foundation project, dubbed “Winterberry,” aims not only to engage Alaskans in research on berry resources but also to find ways to make the findings more valuable to communities.
“Berries are an important resource for so many of us,” said principal investigator Katie Spellman, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center. “This work is an attempt to empower participation in scientific research and make it more accessible and useful to Alaska and Arctic communities.”

Katie Spellman, who leads a new UAF effort to engage Alaskans in wild berry research, helps a student in Venetie cut rosehips during an earlier project. Credit: Katie Spellman

Source: Bauer, N., 2017. Berry research project seeks Alaskan volunteer citizen scientists, 17 August 2017. Available at https://phys.org/news/2017-08-berry-alaskan-volunteer-citizen-scientists.html [Last accessed 5 September 2017].