By: Elizabeth Cherry
This book provides a thoughtful, thorough, and illuminating look into the experiences of birders and their development of what Cherry terms the naturalist gaze. The naturalist gaze allows birders to see themselves as part of a large, complex ecosystem in a unique way. Birders develop this perspective through guided walks and reading field guides as well as natural histories of birds and the environment. The naturalist gaze emphasizes careful observation, informed identification, and peer verification, which makes birders well situated to help conduct citizen science projects. The birders, with their naturalist gaze, provide a model for thinking about the learned expertise citizens can provide during citizen science projects. The case of birders also provides a counter to the often-cited concern put forward by professional scientist about data reliability in these projects. This book is highly engaging and it would fit well in any undergraduate or graduate course that considers the expansive possibilities of citizen science.