The Center for Community and Citizen Science at the University of California, Davis, supports multiple initiatives to engage youth. A study of two programs across multiple sites of in- and out-of-school settings across San Francisco Bay Area, California, showed an increase in the youth participants' environmental science agency (ESA). ESA combines understanding environmental science and inquiry practices with participants’ identification with those practices and their developing belief that the ecosystem is something on which they can act. The study identifies three key community and citizen science (CCS) processes through which many of the youth who participated in the two programs developed ESA: 1) ensuring rigorous data collection, 2) disseminating scientific findings to authentic external audiences, and 3) investigating complex social-ecological systems.
The findings suggest that when CCS programs for youth support these three processes, they can foster youth participation in current conservation actions and build their capacity for future conservation action. The Center for Community and Citizen Science helps scientists and communities collaborate to address environmental problems as a part of civic life.