Discover Life
and help manage our
National Parks
via Citizen Science


Mark DePoy
Buffalo National River
John Pickering
The Polistes Foundation

This page is still under development. Please share, but do not cite.

Updated: 16 May, 2007

Discover Life | The Polistes Foundation | Top

Project Plan for Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity in Ozark National Parks

Executive Summary

Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity involves an all-taxa inventory that is a biological information acquisition process reliant upon and sustained by the constituents (the people) of the geographic area of interest. The program's second major component involves long-term monitoring of ecological indicators that act as surrogates for ecosystem health and integrity, which provides data to determine status and trends of key ecosystem indicators as they respond to anthropogenic perturbations and natural stressors. Providing this data to resource managers who utilize it to make adaptive management decisions is essential to perpetuating biodiversity and safeguarding the integrity of National Park Service ecosystems from global climate change, exotic species and anthropogenic perturbations. It recognizes the close bond and relationship that stakeholders have with the biological community within which they live, work, and recreate. Through the active participation in the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity Program (DLMBP), individuals and groups can discover these relationships and learn about this global treasure called the Ozarks, an internationally recognized ecoregion. Much of this recognition is derived from the knowledge that unlike many other ecoregions, the Ozarks encompass an enormous thirty-four million acre land mass in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois and a small corner of Kansas. Along with the Ouachita region to the south, the Ozarks form the only significant highland region in mid-continental North America. Because of high habitat diversity and antiquity of the landscape, Ozark biotas are characterized by an unusually high level of species disjunctions and endemism, with more than 160 endemic species documented from the ecoregion (Ozarks Ecoregional Conservation Assessment).

An assessment was conducted for the Ozarks ecoregion by The Nature Conservancy to determine the spatial configuration that would most efficiently conserve viable examples of all globally significant biodiversity features. The collected information were synthesized into a spatial assessment with supporting data that provides an explicit rendering of the most significant areas of the Ozarks from a biodiversity conservation perspective. The resulting portfolio encompasses 179 total sites, including 31 landscape scale terrestrial areas, 43 small scale terrestrial sites, 44 aquatic sites, and 61 karst areas. The data revealed the critical importance of Ozark sites, such as the Buffalo River in Arkansas and the Current River in Missouri, which between them contain the world's best known populations of 34 aquatic species of global conservation significance.


Adaptive management relies upon defining relationships between biological diversity and the surrounding ecosystem to be able to address contemporary environmental issues at local and regional scales, such as air and water quality, climate change, land use and development, and invasive species. The Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program will provide essential biological knowledge needed for prudent management decisions. Moreover, the Discover Life and Managing Biodiversity Program will facilitate the bonding of people to the ecosystem in which they live through citizen science efforts, increase public support for protecting National Parks and public lands, raise the potential for new biological discoveries, and elevate overall awareness and appreciation for the exquisiteness and grandeur of Ozark biodiversity.

A Clear Mission

Foremost, the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity project will focus on all taxonomic groups with a focus on biotic functional groups capable of acting a ecosystem indicators, citizen and scientist participation, education, and public and private collaboration. This shall be a project that serves National Parks, public lands, science education programs, biological discovery, and is supported by Ozark communities, conservation organizations and academia. The project mission is: Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity by surveying and monitoring the diversity of life spatially and temporally and connecting people to the natural world through participation in biological inventories and long-term data acquisition in the Buffalo National River, and other parks within the Ozark region.

Project Plan

This project will document and synthesize past scientific work, amplify public land managers and citizen interest in ecosystem preservation, and employ a systematic approach to collecting biological diversity information, spatially and temporally into the future. The plan has two main themes and six goals which articulate key elements for successful, long-term implementation of the program. The themes are: biodiversity surveys and long-term monitoring of functional indicator biota, and citizen participation. The biodiversity survey and monitoring theme has four goals: 1) perform biodiversity inventories and long-term monitoring within an ecosystem and landscape framework, 2) coordinate among taxonomic working groups to accomplish the biodiversity inventory and monitoring process, 3) develop and maintain a temporally and spatially-referenced database, and 4) coordinate with similar programs to compare data and evaluate biological trends of keystone functional groups. Citizen participation has two goals: 1) community involvement and active citizen participation, and 2) appreciation of Ozark biodiversity through art, culture and music.


Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity is a biological information gathering process dependent upon and supported by public land managers, contemporary scientists and the citizens (the stakeholders). It recognizes the relationships and interdependence between stakeholders and the biological community within which they live, work, and recreate. Interested citizens and professional scientists from the region and elsewhere work together to learn about the biodiversity of Ozark ecosystems.

An assessment was conducted for the Ozark ecoregion by The Nature Conservancy to determine the spatial configuration that would most efficiently conserve viable examples of all globally significant biodiversity features. This information was synthesized into a spatial assessment with supporting data that provides an explicit rendering of the most significant areas of the Ozarks from a biodiversity conservation perspective. The resulting portfolio encompasses 179 total sites, including 31 landscape scale terrestrial areas, 43 small scale terrestrial sites, 44 aquatic sites, and 61 karst areas. The data revealed the critical importance of Ozark sites, such as the Buffalo River in Arkansas and the Current River in Missouri, which between them contain the world's best known populations of 34 aquatic species of global conservation significance.

Acknowledging that the Ozarks are locally, regionally, and globally significant, a diverse community of public, private, academic, and governmental individuals and groups will come together to support the initiation of the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program. We believe that the following project plan outlines an itinerary of action that will implement a stimulating, novel model that coalesces scientific inquiry with active citizen participation and education, including the incorporating of biological discovery information into artistic designs, lifestyles and music - in a manner that enhances appreciation of ecosystem dynamics and the need to preserve biodiversity.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program is to inventory and monitor the diversity of life and biota trends, and to connect people to the natural world through participation in biological surveys and long term ecological monitoring activities in the Ozark Ecoregion.

Vision Statement

The vision of the Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program hinges upon a scientifically-valid inventory of biological diversity and the long-term monitoring of key ecosystem indicators in the Ozarks, including a strong component of resident and seasonal citizen contribution and involvement. The collected data will bolster and augment current scientific inventory and monitoring efforts, within a consistent paradigm, facilitate organization and information conveyance, and result in a better comprehension of the abundance, distribution, trends and diversity of life in the Ozarks. These objectives will be achieved by creating hands-on teaching and education experiences whereby citizens are actively involved in biological inventories and long-term monitoring of ecosystem indicators in collaboration with scientific specialists, have extensive admission to inventory knowledge, become informed and educated about floral and faunal resources and their ecology, acquire an intelligence of biodiversity dynamics, stimulate admiration for natural resources, biological richness, and develop an allegiance to conservation and provide an understanding of the benefits that preservation of our natural communities provides to humans and wildlife.


Why is biological diversity and ecosystem preservation important to humanity? We deem it of great consequence because the major populace senses a moral obligation to preserve and protect all life. Inherently humans acquire a robust visual relationship to biological diversity, ecosystems and natural resources; People receive esthetic and mental health benefits from biological diversity, and the majority benefits from the services bestowed by robust, vigorous and biologically diverse ecosystems (Tickell 1997). Consequently, preservation of and the need to sustain biological diversity in the Ozarks is becoming progressively more imperative as issues related to air, soil and water quality, species extirpation and decline, acidification, ecosystem type conversions, climate change, unregulated development, and exotic species continue to be threats.

Thus, implementation of a discovering life and monitoring biological trends process is imperative and compelling to the long-term preservation and administration of Ozark ecosystems, and society's contribution via citizen involvement and integration is critical to preserving and sustaining biological diversity. Janzen and Gamez (1997) state that "the in-country democratization of biodiversity information gathering and processing is one of the key steps to rendering that biodiversity an inextricable part of the social fabric in which it must survive". An ongoing all taxa biological inventory (ATBI) effort in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has demonstrated stalwart associations between their ATBI and creating an amplified bonding of people to the ecosystem in which they reside and recreate through citizen science participation, insight from perceiving the splendor of the natural world, enhanced community support for preserving intact ecosystems, and the prospective for biologically new beneficial discoveries.

A number of significant plan elements are essential. The Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program will focus on functional taxonomic groups capable of serving as vital sign indicators of biodiversity trends and the status of keystone species that serve as centennials of ecosystem stress, condition and health. We will embrace and promote citizen involvement, provide copious educational opportunities at multiple levels, and manifest non-government organization involvement and public/private teamwork. Contemporary research performed by the U.S. Biosphere Reserves Association in 2003, revealed the necessity for engaged supporters by a local constituency for biosphere reserves, through public instruction and local involvement, as well as increased communication among managers. Consequently, the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program is premeditated to be supported, sustained by, and to serve Ozark society, and to collaborate and partner with other all taxa biological inventory and long-term ecological monitoring programs to promote and achieve biodiversity preservation on a regional and national level.

The Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity Program is:

  1. All Ozarks (public and private lands within the Ozark Ecoregion)
  2. All species (taxonomic groups of species)
  3. Spatially and temporally referenced
  4. Public and private
  5. Strong citizen involvement/science/education
  6. All stakeholders (including but not limited to):
    • Students
    • Educators
    • Landowners
    • Policymakers
    • Scientists
    • Visitors/tourists
    • Consumptive recreationists (hunt/fish)
    • Non-consumptive recreationists
  7. The Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program is focused on inventorying and monitoring functional biotic communities and species that have the capacity to act as vital sign indicators of ecosystem function and provide information relevant to the status and trends of biological communities as they respond to both biogenic and anthropogenic perturbations . This may include but is not focused on threatened and endangered species, is not limited to an academic base of support, and is not government controlled, but garners involvement of government entities that manage public lands and assists private landowners with habitat management and provides environmental education to citizens of the Ozark ecoregion.

Products from the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity Program

The Ozark initiative will produce tangible results including but not limited to:

  1. Database (including actual data, as well as metadata on other databases of interest)
  2. Archived specimens
  3. Web site
  4. Maps (digital and paper)
  5. Reports of results, published in both scientific and popular media outlets
  6. Educational materials (brochures, handouts, web sites, classroom lesson plans, public presentations)
  7. Writings, art, music, and other celebrators of Ozark biodiversity and culture
  8. Wayside and interpretive signs that interpret discoveries and ecoregion ecosystem trends

An On-Line User's Guide to the Ozark ATBI

Discover Life's website will provide basic guidance to the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program's organizational structure, activities and discoveries. While this project plan has an ecoregion focus on the structure of the DLMB (e.g., goals, objectives, and committees), synthesis of detailed protocols for the biological inventories and long-term monitoring methodologies, and for citizen participation is expected to be an iterative process primarily during the launch period of the program. To facilitate and strategically implement the biological inventories and bring organization to the programs administration, a web based user's manual will be made available on the Discover Life website. This handbook will provide 1) an introduction to Ozark ecosystem biological communities and a systematic structure to help characterize chain of command and methodological sampling procedures, 2) a synopsis of the functional taxonomic working groups (TWIGs) and methodologies and modus operandi approved by each, 3) a description and explanation of the biological inventory methods, and 4) instruments and methods to acquire resident, teacher, student and artist participation in the discover life process through activities such as citizen science, core biological and ecosystem curriculum development and implementation, public programs and gatherings, and artistic enriching celebrations.

The user's manual will contain citations of publications that illustrate procedural applications used by similar biological inventory and monitoring programs. While the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program is a biological inventory and ecological monitoring program designed to collect data about species richness, abundance and information to identify perturbation impacts and ecosystem trends related to biogenic and anthropogenic influences, no identifiable outcomes will at this time be elucidated. However, it is our intent to develop a "Research Needs Catalog" for the Ozark ecoregion that identifies information gap research opportunities and ecological questions created by analysis of the data.

Scientists, Citizens and Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity Participation

One of the primary objectives of Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity is the collaboration between scientists and citizens in acquiring and synthesizing biological information and ecosystem data and analyzing this information to determine its meaning, in a synergistic manner. Creating interest about biological diversity and ecosystem dynamics and consciousness of the diversity and distinctiveness of Ozark ecosystems can also result in a new generation of taxonomists, biologists and natural resource administrators responsive to the ecosystem in which they reside, in a manner that perpetuates its wellbeing and integrity. Commemorations of Ozark biodiversity as an irreplaceable and unique heritage through the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity process should create intellectual and artistic products than will enhance the public's understanding of biological life and their role in preserving it as a component of Ozark heritage.

There are copious advantages and incentives for scientists, taxonomists and citizens to cooperate synergistically in the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program. While biological and environmental information assimilation will take place with or without the Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program, this enterprise will enhance and promote cooperation between scientists and educators on questions of significance to the entire Ozark region. Qualified citizens trained by mentor scientists will help with the biological inventory and monitoring data collection and synthesis process resulting in numerous research and scientific reports and enhancing the quantity of samples collected and locations studied. Data quality validity can be assured with a systematic and tested sampling methodology, many of which have been previously proven to provide accurate data. The Ozark ecoregion is a large area with many discrete institutions and private investigators operating autonomously from one another. The Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program will serve as a mechanism to coalesce and coordinate these efforts into a unified organization and approach so that data can be accurately compared and ecological trends determined.

Project Plan Themes and Goals

The Project Plan is the principal steering document for the Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program. This program will coalesce and amalgamate previous biological and research information, intensify efforts and interest in contemporary work, and utilize organized and orderly tactics in collecting and assimilating biological diversity and ecosystem trend date so that it can be understood and utilized by Ozark citizens and public land managers to make informed decisions. We define two themes for this Project Plan, which elucidate critical ingredients to accomplish durable plan implementation. The goals are not isolated from one another but are incorporated and have common characteristics. The two themes and six goals contained by them are:

  • Theme 1: Biodiversity Survey
    • Goal 1.1: Biodiversity Inventory within an Ecosystem functional group and Ecosystem Framework
    • Goal 1.2: Coordination among Taxonomic Working Groups (TWIGs) and the Biodiversity Inventory Process
    • Goal 1.3: Development and Maintenance of a Temporally and Spatially-referenced Database
    • Goal 1.4: Coordination with other All Taxa Biological Inventory and Ecological Monitoring Programs
  • Theme 2: Public Participation
    • Goal 2.1: Community Involvement and Active Citizen Participation
    • Goal 2.2: Appreciation of Ozark Ecology and Biodiversity through Art, Culture and Community

    Theme 1: Biodiversity Survey

    The principal purpose of most biological assessment programs is an inventory, or survey, of all existing flora and fauna, from mammals and birds to reptiles, insects, bacteria, and fungi that are found within a specified geographic area. Via the outcome of this effort, biologists are capable of understanding the ecological requirements of discovered species, and define their physical, chemical and habitat requirements and environmental thresholds.

    Scientists posses a wealth of knowledge about most mega fauna and flora habitat requirements and life histories, while trivial information is available for incalculable numbers of species, and many regions of the Ozarks have not been inventoried. An ATBI would identify and fill those gaps in knowledge by providing guidance to scientists working in the Ozarks. The biological inventory component of the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity project would discover many species previously unrecorded from the Ozark ecoregion. It is common for most ecoregion biological inventories to discover copious species previously unknown to reside within an ecosystem.

    Most regional and locally adapted biological inventories are not premeditated to calculate population densities, species health, status and trends. However, the Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversityprogram will be specifically designed to capture and synthesis detailed information related to ecosystem integrity, stressors and resulting trends. Additionally data acquired via the inventory process will be compared with other similar reports, studies and research to evaluate population status, trends and ecosystem integrity temporally and spatially. The general health of the environment may be determined by evaluating the presence or absence of "ecosystem indicator" species or by using an index of biological integrity scoring process or a suite of ecological and environmental attributes.

    Taxonomic classification of individual flora and fauna is an arduous procedure that necessitates the supervision and critique of specialized scientists. However, capable novice citizens and self-taught individuals will provide significant contributions to the project by field collecting specimens for subsequent classification, and in some cases may be taught to make preliminary identifications that facilitate the work of the professional taxonomist.

    A biological inventory and long-term monitoring program will have its maximum significance and benefit if executed methodically within an ecoregion and preservation perspective that contains a spatially and temporally precise sampling design, strategically positioned within a ecosystem and ecotone framework. This strategy will direct the inventory and monitoring site selections, and facilitate a mapping process that geographically identifies sampled locations and provides indicators for future sampling within a landscape context. The extant Nature Conservancy's Ozark Ecoregion Conservation Assessment defines ecosystem units and thus, this document will endow taxonomic working groups, researchers, and managers of natural resources with the necessary parameters to evaluate targeted species, population status and trends, and community functioning condition, composition and dynamics in a manner pertinent to regional, local ecotone conditions. The online Ozarks Ecoregional Conservation Assessment will serve as a User's Guide to define the parameters of habitat types and ecotones that will be inventoried and monitored over time. This will allow participants to concentrate sampling and monitoring efforts on specific habitat types and key ecosystem functioning groups that serve as centennials and surrogates of ecosystem integrity. Additionally, comparisons will be made between various managed areas to determine the efficacy of management techniques. This will provide managers with information to guide future management decisions relevant to conservation practices that are proven to preserve and enhance natural resources.

    Objectives of Goal 1.1

    Objective 1.1.1: Use extant validated Ozark ecoregion ecotone descriptions and habitat parameter definitions to determine placement of sampling units within which systematic inventory and monitoring data can be collected and evaluated

    Objective 1.1.2: Systematize species and ecological community information within a temporally and spatially-referenced relation GIS database

    • Define, evaluate and visually demonstrate past and current land use, habitat alterations, current condition

    Objective 1.1.3: Design the inventory so that data can be compared to past and extant data and future monitoring information

    • Evaluate data to determine species status over time and determine information variance and divergence
    • Deliverable products includes species location maps and spatially referenced database

    Goal 1.2: Organization and synchronization between Taxonomic Working Groups and the Biodiversity Inventory and Monitoring Process

    Organization and collaboration between taxonomic working groups (TWIGs) will be coordinated by a Science Committee. The Science Committee will:

    1) Obtain taxonomists and qualified scientific organizations to implement inventory and monitoring work in the Ozarks,

    2) Spatially and temporally document work by taxonomists across TWIGs

    3) Sponsor and promote cooperation and collaboration among groups to work within the identified ecosystem units,

    4) Encourage efforts in unsampled locations with information gaps and promote inventories for un-represented flora and fauna,

    5) Synthesize strategies and define parameters for citizen participation and professional scientific efforts,

    6) Enable and promote cooperative partnerships and sabbatical support for scientist and university students,

    7) Establish satellite field stations and laboratory facilities that will provide infrastructure, administrative support and equipment for inventory and monitoring work, and

    8) Support a principal coordination location to comprehensively document, track, record and report collaborative inventory and monitoring efforts and data for all participating entities.

    The fundamental inventories will be achieved by the TWIGs with direction and oversight from the Science Committee. This will be defined in a future document. The crucial principle guiding the inventory course of action is that field modus operandi must be

    1) Repeatable

    2) Executed via methodologies validated by scientific peer review

    3) Performed at specific times and spatially positioned locations

    4) Oriented to comprehensively record to the greatest extent possible distribution and abundance information according to ecosystem and habitat units

    5) Accessible to interested constituents.

    Additionally, each TWIG will describe within the protocols the appropriate manner in which citizens can participate and the degree of oversight and supervision needed.

    TWIGs will:

    1) Identify the proper methodology, authority and taxonomic keys for identifying species

    2) Train participants to inventory and monitor specific taxa

    3) Organize, direct and synchronize inventory and monitoring data acquisition, compilation and assembly

    4) Provide data to Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity coordinator

    5) Evaluate and synthesize data into a spatial and temporal model, define specie life histories, and analyze data for status and trend reporting

    6) Collect and forward samples for molecular genetic analyses (e.g., DNA sequencing for speciation)

    Standard operating inventory and monitoring procedures and protocol for taxonomic groups will stipulate a minimum level of sampling detail suitable for the sampling methodology, sampling effort and citizen involvement. Four levels within sampling units appropriate to each taxa are defined as follows: 1) presence-absence, 2) relative abundance and distribution, 3) population estimate, and 4) complete census.

    Objectives of Goal 1.2

    Objective 1.2.1: Adopt and emulate field sampling protocols from other ATBI TWIGs

    Objective 1.2.2: Develop database configuration and procedural protocols for data input and maintenance of database

    Objective 1.2.3: Populate and update database; permit data input by certified programmers

    Objective 1.2.4: Organize, synchronize and coordinate biological inventories via Bioblitzes

    Objective 1.2.5: Appoint and maintain partnerships, curatorial facilities, laboratory facilities, professional associations and governmental agency leadership

    Objective 1.2.6: Characterize and describe previous biological inventories and the institutions that participated in these sampling efforts, and delineate the spatial disparities and gaps in biological inventories

    Objective 1.2.7: Categorize, describe and pinpoint previous and currently-sampled plots or quadrates and establish additional and future sampling locations

    Goal 1.3: Development and Maintenance of a Temporally and Spatially-referenced Database * will design a web based database repository that links and makes congruent data sources compatible with new information. The database will be populated with species names, locations, and images will allow the documentation and synthesis of biological diversity data for the Ozark ecoregion and document responses to global warming, exotic invasion and contaminant perturbations. Provided as a digital database over the internet, contemporary and historic biological inventory data and species stressor responses will be accessible to scientists, land managers, educators, and citizens to aid land management decisions, and increase citizen participation in the scientific uniqueness of Ozark Parks.

    Additionally, GIS will be utilized as an all-purpose database for maintaining a perpetual record of all sampling and monitoring activities and for charting the site where species are discovered and collected. We will also be able to ascertain and pinpoint under-collected areas and compare antropogenially influenced sites to areas more remote and pristine. The database will be utilized to identify areas that are biologically rich and sensitive to change and to select randomly stratified plots monitored long-term to determine diversity and population trends in response to climate change and perturbations. We will use GIS to develop predictive models for sampling habitat and forecast species locations and distributions, as well as select locations to test hypothesis.

    Subsequent to database development it will be populated with extant taxonomic information for the Ozarks. Copious taxonomic data and biological information has been assembled by scientists, universities and conservation organizations. This information will be coalesced and integrated into the database when possible, resulting in one central Ozark database. The Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity database will be created to accommodate forthcoming data inputs as the program expands.

    Objectives of Goal 1.3

    Objective 1.3.1: Maintain an inventory database

    • Input extant data and modify to accommodate contemporary field data. Extant databases will be evaluated and linked relationally as new data are input
    • Provide metadata and quality assurance protocols to all consumers

    Objective 1.3.2: Maintain a database that is user-friendly while providing for valid data input and extraction, distinctive admittance points and iterations for dissimilar consumers

    Objective 1.3.3: Use web site to synthesize and display instructions for conducting biological inventories and long-term monitoring within an ecosystem and landscape context in the Ozarks

    Goal 1.4: Collaboration with other All Taxa Biological Inventory and Monitoring Programs *

    Biological inventories and long term monitoring programs are being propagated throughout the United States, National Park Service, and in state agencies. Collaboration, cooperation and communication with these programs shall be advantageous to our Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversityprogram, modus operandi, field protocols, database management, and advancement of the value and benefits of biological inventories and ecological monitoring to general populace. A primary goal of the Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity will be to generate and maintain open communication with similar programs and work cooperatively in a universal manner to enhance conservation of ecosystems and biological diversity. The emerging Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity coalition will function to enhance this capability.

    Objectives of Goal 1.4

    Objective 1.4.1: Network with similar programs across the nation to share: stratagem, achievements, and assets

    Objective 1.4.2: Cooperate as appropriate with similar programs to exchange data, discoveries, novel developments and outcomes on the results and process

    Objective 1.4.3: Emphasize the association, connection and affiliation of the program with citizen participants and interest groups to acknowledge the human connection to the environment and biological diversity

    Objective 1.4.4: Support interested groups in developing emergent programs and actions

    *Theme 2: Citizen Participation *

    *Goal 2.1: Citizen Involvement and Active Participation*

    The Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program will depend on copious community contributions and citizen involvement. Program leaders will identify and describe means by which individuals, education institutions and organizations can become engaged and actively assist with all phases of the program, including but not limited to inventory, monitoring education, and administration. This will be identified and described in the web site. Consequently, when an interested entity inquires about participating and assisting with the program a description of events and associates can be presented. These associations and opportunities will be part of the promotional materials developed to elevate responsiveness and familiarity of the program. Environmental organizations such as the Ozark Society and Sierra Club will assist with organizing and implementing Ozark educational events around the ecoregion at various locations (e.g., Ozark National Parks, Game and Fish Education Centers and Forest Service Visitor Centers, etc.).

    Objectives of Goal 2.1

    Objective 2.1.1: Develop a means by which volunteers, citizens' groups, and landowners can become connected with scientists and assist with field sampling, processing of field samples on site or at specimen processing centers, data processing, Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversityadministration and promotion

    Objective 2.1.2: Develop and coordinate activities that provide learning opportunities about biodiversity for a diverse citizenry and for participants at all educational levels (at all age levels and including both trained and amateur naturalists).

    Objective 2.1.3: Make the results of the program (exclusive of proprietary, sensitive, or otherwise inappropriate material) accessible to a wide variety of media and comprehensible to citizens, decision makers and visitors of the Ozarks through the web site

    Objective 2.1.4: Promote use of Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity information in local decision making by landowners, organizations, and government agencies

    Goal 2.2: Appreciation of Place-Based Biodiversity through Art, Culture and Community

    The focus of this goal is to identify ways to link science with the artistic and cultural communities that characterize the Ozarks. Appreciation of biological diversity and natural environments and connection to the land are common themes expressed by writers, painters, photographers, and singers in the Ozarks. In many respects, these people are the story-tellers who will help the Ozark Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity to realize the mission and vision of the project. Artists, writers, and explorers have been instrumental in creating interest in the Ozark region and making it accessible to people. Their work, like Aldo Leopold's and others' contributions, serve to inspire many naturalists and conservationists today. It is this spirit that we wish to capture and use to effectively make the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity part of the visible and subtle fabric of life in the Ozarks.

    *Objectives of Goal 2.2 *

    Objective 2.2.1: Encourage the celebration of Ozark biodiversity with writing, art, and other cultural "products"

    Objective 2.2.2: Bring writers, photographers and other artists into the biological inventory process in ways that help document the process and highlight the cultural significance of the Discovering Life and Managing Biodiversity program

    Objective 2.2.3: Explore ways to incorporate art and culture to fit curricula and meet state educational standards.

    Objective 2.2.4: Demonstrate the historical connection of human culture, including indigenous peoples, in the Ozarks with various aspects of biological diversity

Discover Life | The Polistes Foundation | Top