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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Eleanor Ely

Editor of The Volunteer Monitor

I’ve worked as a science writer and editor for almost 20 years, and since 1990 I’ve been the editor of The Volunteer Monitor newsletter, a national publication about citizen monitoring of all things water-related: rivers, lakes, wetlands, and estuaries, including their shores and watersheds. Essentially a “trade journal,” the newsletter features useful how-to articles by and for practitioners. In the volunteer monitoring world, the term “citizen science” isn’t used much (although that may be changing). However, articles in The Volunteer Monitor frequently talk about both

science (method comparisons, data quality) and citizenship (using the data to protect and improve the environment, a.k.a. “data to action”).

As a writer and editor, I think a lot about how to write something that people will want to read. My latest project is a techniques workshop, “Writing to Be Read,” specifically designed to help people at environmental agencies and nonprofits improve their chances of being read.

I have an M.A. in microbiology, which explains why The Volunteer Monitor has so many articles about methods for testing E. coli.

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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