Happy Independence Day! I read a blog on Scientific American this morning that I think is of interest to all Americans and especially those with a curiosity of the natural world. Most of us are familiar with the term ‘citizen science’ and many of us have participated in bird or butterfly counts or other citizen science projects. I was surprised to learn that Thomas Jefferson, the chief architect of the Declaration of Independence instituted ‘citizen science’ programs a couple of centuries before the term was coined.
Thomas Jefferson was our third president, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, the face of the two-dollar bill, and the originator of Lewis and Clark’s expedition—which introduced both Lewis’s Woodpecker and Clark’s Nutcracker to ornithologists. Jefferson was also one of the first people to realize the value of public data collection. Read Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Data at http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/07/03/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-data/