Recruiting Students in Fight Against Zika
An innovative program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is empowering student scientists to track the spread of the Zika virus in the United States. High school students are keeping tabs on local mosquito populations by collecting data and egg samples for the USDA, which are used to update official maps of where mosquito species swarm. As one USDA representative explained, “With little money in state and local budgets to track the spread of Zika, the role of citizen scientists is important” to both estimate the risk to animals and humans, and to protect the food security of the United States. Nearly 100 high schools in 10 states are currently involved in this project, demonstrating the power of citizen diplomacy to contribute to a greater global cause.