February 20 Speaker Series: California OakWatch Project

Jose Esparza, Community Science Coordinator at the California Native Plant SocietyJose Esparza, Community Science Coordinator at the California Native Plant Society, will briefly talk about the community science work at CNPS and how to get involved with the California OakWatch project.

Science has been historically exclusive and community science is one of the many ways in which we can increase accessibility to science, close equity gaps and create opportunities in the conservation field. Community Science (often called participatory science or community science) is a form of research that provides everyone, regardless of their background, an opportunity to contribute meaningful data to further our scientific understanding of key issues. It is a powerful tool for conservation that can generate biodiversity data at scales that are intractable by other approaches. The California OakWatch project utilizes community science and crowd-source data activate and engage people in scientific research to answer questions not just relevant to the scientific community, but our local community as well.

Oaks are vital to supporting biodiversity, but many are in crisis – help us map where they are, especially young oaks! Globally, one third of oaks are vulnerable in California, that number jumps to nearly one half. Changes in land use and climate contribute to reductions in oak numbers. In many areas, oaks struggle to reproduce, and knowing where seedlings and saplings are is crucial information. This project collects data on oaks native to the California Floristic Province, with a particular focus on young plants.

Jose is the Community Science Coordinator at the California Native Plant Society. Since joining in 2021, he has managed community science projects that are community driven and community-led. His roots in community science stem from his experience in conservation work with strong intersections in science, community outreach and environmental justice.

Jose graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Geography/Environmental Studies. As a way to connect with his environment, he loves to spend time outdoors, hiking, playing soccer and exploring creative outlets through drawing.

Milo Baker Chapter General Meetings and Speaker Series are held on the third Tuesday of each month (except for July, August, and December) at 7:30p.m. Meetings are held at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave, Santa Rosa, or via Zoom.

Zoom link to this presentation: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88662665757