Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2015 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Urban Mosquitoes: Citizen Science Program Outcomes for the Community
Sorensen, Amanda
Co-Authors: Rebecca Jordan, Shannon LaDeau

Abstract: The Baltimore Mosquito Project “Mosquito Stoppers,” is a citizen science collaboration between University of Maryland BC, The Cary Institute, and Rutgers University. This project is aimed at engaging local individuals of West Baltimore in mosquito control. Here, I will talk about how issue framing may affect citizen scientist perception of individual contributions and motivation for participation. Our data show a gradient of individuals’ belief in personal efficacy in mosquito control, perception of mosquito effects on individuals’ daily lives, and perception of municipal efficacy in meeting public needs. Individuals were less likely to report that mosquitoes kept them from enjoying the outdoors post Mosquito Stoppers participation. Individuals who reported being satisfied with their municipalities’ handling of mosquitoes and pests dropped by half after participation. Belief in personal efficacy in mosquito remediation however, increased post participation. There was no statistically significant difference in mosquito knowledge pre and post participation of Mosquito Stoppers, as participants ranked highly in mosquito knowledge at project outset. Emerging from our data, we see that framing of project goals (public health versus environmental stewardship) as an important driver of participant outcomes. It is long known that framing influences individuals perceptions and judgments. This research suggests that framing of citizen science programs in terms of engaging under-represented and minority individuals in public health should be further investigated.