Environmental Protectors Project

This four-year National Science Foundation-funded project engages youth of color between 14 and 18 years of age, who live in Oakland, CA, Flint,  MI,  or  Chelsea,  MA, in community-driven science research activities. Our research investigates the impacts of participating in the project, including science identity and appreciation of the value of  STEM  and civic agency outcomes. In addition to generating evidence about these outcomes, we hope to begin to understand how these dispositions and stances grow and support each other. 

The project engages youth in authentic science research practices to investigate community-related environmental issues. The project is a collaboration with partners in each of the three communities (Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA; Harvard Museum of Natural History in Chelsea, MA; Brownell Boulevard Coalition in Flint, MI). The project programming is presented 4 times per year at each of the 3 sites. During this programming, youth are engaged in:

  • Mini-investigations within their communities during which they will collect, organize, interpret and communicate accurate and relevant data on concentration levels of lead in local soils and Particulate Matter concentration levels in air indoors and outdoors.
  • Discussion and critical analysis of the data as it relates to the social, political, and historical dimensions of local environmental injustice issues.
  • Construction of visually compelling narratives to communicate the results of their investigations to public audiences in a variety of settings that may include designing community awareness campaigns and/or devising pollution mitigation strategies.

Research Questions

  1. How does science activism develop in youth participating in Community Driven Science research?
    • How are science-related outcomes  (values science,  science competency beliefs,  and science identity) related to science activism?
    • How are civic agency outcomes (perceived behavioral control and personal salience) related to science activism?
    • What do youth perceive to be the most important program contributors and contextual factors for developing science activism?
  2. When youth are engaged in CDSR, what proximal outcomes are observed?
  3. How do differences in program implementation impact youth outcomes?

For more information about this project or to get involved, please contact Principal Investigator Kevin Cuff.

Support Provided By

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2115614. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.