Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and by Sharman Apt Russell

By Sharman Apt Russell

Winner of the 2015John Burroughs Medal, the 2015 WILLA Award for most sensible artistic Nonfiction, and finalist for the 2015 New Mexico/Arizona ebook Awards

In the exploding global of citizen technology, millions of volunteers are tracking weather swap, monitoring poultry migrations, discovering stardust for NASA, and excavating mastodons. The sheer variety of citizen scientists, mixed with new expertise, has all started to form how learn will get performed. Non-professionals turn into said specialists: dentists develop into astronomers and accountants into botanists.


Diary of a Citizen Scientist is a well timed exploration of the phenomenon of citizen technology, instructed in the course of the lens of nature author Sharman Apt Russell’s yearlong research of a little-known species, the Western red-bellied tiger beetle. In a voice either funny and lyrical, Russell recounts her continual and cheerful monitoring of an insect she calls “charismatic,” “elegant,” and “fierce.” Patrolling the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico, collector’s web in hand, she negotiates the realities of weather switch at the same time she celebrates the great thing about a still-wild and rural landscape.


Russell’s self-awareness—of her occasionally-misplaced self belief, her quest to fill in “that clean spot at the map of tiger beetles,” and her wish to turn into newly engaged in her life—creates a portrait not just of the tiger beetle she tracks, yet of the mind-set in the back of self-driven clinical inquiry. Falling in love with the range of citizen technological know-how, she participates in crowdsourcing courses that variety from cataloguing galaxies to tracking the phenology of local vegetation, applauds the starting to be function of citizen technological know-how in environmental activism, and marvels on the great quantity of initiatives round the world.


Diary of a Citizen Scientist deals its readers a glimpse into the transformative houses of citizen science—and records the transformation of the sector as a whole.

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