Monday, November 18, 2019

ICBO Results: Authenticity and Motivation

Understanding motivation for forming collaborations and doing ‘outreach’ in underserved communities is important. Authenticity is especially important in the language people use (does it signal superiority?), actions they take (are you genuinely interested in connecting?), and when dealing with conflicts. Taking time to express gratitude is important.

Video edited by Guava Rhee (Engaged Cornell student). Actor: Jose Miguel Hernandez Hurtado, director of La Joven Guardia del Teatro and community researcher member of the ICBOs.

Friday, November 1, 2019

ICBO Results: Third Best Man

Our research also indicates that science institutions will often send someone who has no experience in the community, no authority within the institution, and no decision making-power, to represent their institution at key planning and negotiation meetings.

Video edited by Guava Rhee (Engaged Cornell student). Actor: Jose Miguel Hernandez Hurtado, director of La Joven Guardia del Teatro and community researcher member of the ICBOs.

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Robin Hood Approach explained

We keep sharing our research findings in a series of creative videos. This time, the ICBOs express the Robin Hood Approach:

Community researchers found that many community organizations will put up with collaborations and partnerships that are untrustworthy, inequitable, frustrating, and lack transparency in order to obtain funds and opportunities that they feel can be channeled directly to their communities - ICBO Research.

Video edited by Guava Rhee (Engaged Cornell student). Actor: Jose Miguel Hernandez Hurtado, director of La Joven Guardia del Teatro Latino, Inc., and community researcher member of the ICBOs.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

ICBO Research results: Trust and Transparency

Our research shows that developing genuine trust is one of the most important parts of a successful partnership between a STEM institution and a community-based organization. Because of a long history of inequities, developing trust needs to be a long-term commitment. There has to be continuity, openness, and a real desire to make it happen. Working through challenges successfully and spending time getting to know each other personally (socially outside of the project) increases trust.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Download our ICBO Community Review Board Agreement of Non-Negotiables

What is non-negotiable as we undertake community-based participatory research?

Click on the image above to download the ICBOs  Community Review Board Agreement of Non-Negotiables that guide research and evaluation in our communities. We believe these key agreements will guide equitable, inclusive research that ultimately benefits our communities. This agreement will guide our work -- much like Institutional Review Boards might do so at universities and research institutions, but from the community perspective.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


On June 4, 2019, Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF) had a group of esteemed visitors from Washington, DC, South Eastern Region of the United States and the Great State of Georgia. Among the visitors were: The Chief of NRCS, Mr. Matthew J. Lohr, Mr. Bill Bailey, Southeast Regional Coordinator Farm Production and Conservation from Huntsville, Alabama, Mr. Terrance Rudolph State Conservationist of NRCS Georgia, and Ms. Velma Lakins of USDA/AMS/TM/GD along with other state and local officials.

What a day for MAUF! Chief Lohr only visited the great state of Georgia for two days and during this time he visited six farms in the entire state. MAUF was chosen as the only Urban Agriculture Farm that he visited. MAUF felt a great responsibility to represent Urban Agriculture not only in Georgia but Urban Agriculture across this great nation.

During the visit, MAUF highlighted the work that they are currently doing with other organizations as well as some other points:

  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Meaningful Collaborations, Partnership and the Impact and our Noise Pollution Project)
  • The Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Naturally Grown Certified
  • Stressed the Need for Urban Agricultural in terms of 
    • Financial Support
    • Marketing Support
    • Better Training Programs for new and beginning farmers
    • Access to land
    • Produce Food Safety on the farm
    • Outlet for being able to tell our farming story
  • Shared the impact of Urban Farming in the community

Monday, May 13, 2019

Our ICBO Working Agreements

In December, during our in-person project meeting in Ithaca, NY, we updated our ICBO Working Agreements. These are based off of the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing.

 Here are our NOISE Project Working Agreements: ICBO Working Agreements
  • Be Inclusive 
  • Emphasis on Bottom-Up Organizing 
  • Let People Speak for Themselves 
  • Work Together In Solidarity and Mutuality 
  • Build Just Relationships Among Ourselves 
  • Commitment to Self-Transformation 
  • Practice Deep Listening and Loving Speech 
  • Practice empathy, love, curiosity, and humility 
  • Use ICBO research to guide us in all aspects of the project, including within our group 
  • Forgive and learn from mistakes 
  • Speak up, speak down 
  • Speak your truth 
  • It’s okay to disagree 
  • Be comfortable with discomfort 
  • Help and support each other 
  • It’s okay to be raggedy 
  • Practice ally-ship (white ally/male ally) 
  • Commit to and be patient with process 
  • Be fully present & engaged

Friday, April 19, 2019

Meet Sister Sharon!

Hope you all checked out Catherine Pham's introduction. This week, meet Sister Sharon Horace!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Makeda and Bobby present at PBS Nature meeting

Makeda Cheatom and Bobby Wilson talk about the importance of equity and inclusion in the sciences at a PBS Nature meeting at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in November 2018. This video was produced by Isabella Armas León, an undergraduate Engaged Cornell student working with the ICBOs.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Participate in our Community Survey on Noise Pollution/ Participa en nuestra Encuesta de la Contaminación Acústica

Please Take our Noise Pollution Survey: Scan the QR code

Or use this link:

Tome nuestra encuesta: Escanee el código QR:

O use este enlace:

"Walking on Eggshells" visually explained

Our research shows that community-based organizations don’t feel like they can be honest with partners when they see institutional racism. They feel like they are “walking on eggshells,” because addressing inequity might harm their organization or community. 

In this video, Jose Miguel Hernandez, actor, artistic director and one of our community researchers, interprets one of the results of our research, "Walking on Eggshells" using body expressions.

Video by Marilu Lopez Fretts, edited by Guava Rhee.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Meet Catherine!

Meet Catherine Pham! She is the first Community Partner to feature in a bi-weekly series to introduce the Community Perspectives Team.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Our Workbooks for Community-based Organizations and Informal Science Institutions

The ICBOs workbooks for Community-based Organizations MEANINGFUL COLLABORATIONS and for Informal Science Educators PARTNERSHIPS FOR IMPACT are now available for download! 

  To download the CBO workbook: Meaningful Collaborations - click HERE!

  To download ISE workbook: Partnerships for Impact - click HERE!

The workbooks are a product of research conducted by the ICBOs and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology over three years, focused on how to create equitable partnerships between community-based organizations in underrepresented communities and informal science institutions.

The objective is to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The research comes from questions asked by community researchers to more than 30 other community organizations. It represents the community perspective.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Raj Pandya at CLO

Raj Pandya, one of the advisors of our AISL NSF Project focused on creating a continental Community Science project on noise pollution, visited the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on February 19, 2019. He presented a seminar about Community Science and how it relates to the Independent Community-based Organizations (ICBO) Research in collaboration with the Lab.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Welcome to our new Collaborators from Mexico lindo!

We are so excited to welcome Cecy Alvarez and Juan Flores from Green Jay Mayan Birding in Cancún, Mexico as our new ICBO partners and collaborators.

Estamos súper contentos de dar la bienvenida a Cecy Alvarez y Juan Flores de Green Jay Mayan Birding en Cancún. Ellos se suman a nuestro proyecto I asumen el rol de ICBOs representando a México.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Inequitable Collaborations-The Need for FULL ACCESS

Check out the wonderful stop-motion video created by one of our students, Isabella Armas-Leon, describing our research results focused on inequitable collaborations between more resourced Science Institutions and Community-based Organizations.

ICBOs New Project Showcased at PI Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Bobby Wilson ready to share our wonderful workbooks!

Bobby Wilson and Karen Purcell showcased our new NOISE project's poster during this year's Principal Investigator meeting in Washington, D.C.

This event, organized by the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) is for PI's of projects supported by the NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program and others who take an active interest in broad strategic issues that cut across the informal science education field.

These PI Meetings offer an opportunity to discuss trends and issues in the field and we are excited that this time one of our community researchers who is also a Co-PI attended.

Bobby and Karen also presented at at the NSF PI Panel on Public Participation in Scientific Research/Citizen Science as a Force for Change along with two other researchers committed to community led participatory research.

Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, whose project is focused on building capacity in underserved communities and informing the safe and sustainable production of food sources, and Lucy Robinson who is reaching out to community-based orgs in London to work on bioblitzes as part of their Science Learning + project.

The panel PPSR/ “Citizen science” presents opportunities for authentic science engagement and science learning. Employing this approach in a more than cursory way raises fundamental questions about who determines what science is being done and for what purpose. How can addressing these questions, and engaging communities at the outset, create opportunities for new forms of science learning, and new models of scientific research?

What a nice way to start this year! Keeping it up with the ICBOs.

Bobby and Karen on a selfie ride.

Karen, Bobby and Tina proudly pose in front of our original poster.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Our Community Review Board Agreement of Non-Negotiables

The ICBOs have created a Community Review Board Agreement of Non-Negotiables to guide research and evaluation in our communities. We believe these key agreements will guide equitable, inclusive research that ultimately benefits our communities. This agreement will guide our work -- much like Institutional Review Boards might do so at universities and research institutions, but from the community perspective.

ICBO Community Review Board Agreement of Non-Negotiables

What is non-negotiable as we undertake community-based participatory research?

1. Research in our communities must be conducted with respect and cultural competence.

2. Research in our communities must include our communities from the beginning.

3. Research in our communities will be beneficial and empowering to our communities.

4. Researchers must have a deep understanding of equity*.

5. Researchers must have a high level of emotional intelligence.

6. Researchers will use vocabulary that is easy for everyone involved in the project (and their communities) to understand.

7. Researchers must understand our communities’ priorities.

8. Researchers will not use our communities as guinea pigs. We do not want to be studied or used for the benefit of others.

9. Research in our communities will be honest, transparent, and have high integrity.


11. Researchers will be clear and transparent about their agenda.

12. Researchers will NOT use our communities for the benefit of their institutions or for their personal benefit.

13. Research results will always be shared with our communities first and in ways that are accessible and clear to everyone.

14. Consent documents will be clear and to the point so that anyone can understand what they are agreeing to.

15. The intellectual property that is taken from our communities belongs to our community. 

*Equity: Providing the structure, tools, respect, and support needed to give each member the same opportunity to succeed. Working for equity also means identifying and fighting forces and systems that limit opportunities and outcomes.


Photos of the ICBOs meeting at our December 11-13 meeting at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The ICBOs have co-created and signed a copy of our working agreements. Photos by Marilú Lopez-Fretts

Community Perspectives Survey about Noise Pollution

We are excited to launch our co-created survey to learn more about how our communities are experiencing noise pollution. 

What is the research about? We are trying to understand issues of equity and noise so we can create a national Community Science project (and APP) that brings about meaningful change and benefits underserved communities throughout North America.

Who is leading the research? The ICBOs (a group of community organizations representing underserved communities throughout North America). Led by Metro Atlanta Urban Farm in Georgia, the WorldBeat Center in California, CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio) in Minnesota, and Camp Compass Academy in Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

How long should it take? 10 minutes

Is there payment for participation? There is no payment for participation, but by completing the survey you’ll have the opportunity to be entered into a drawing to win a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or a pair of binoculars.  

Survey in English:

Help us spread the word!


Estamos encantados de lanzar nuestra encuesta para obtener más información sobre cómo nuestras comunidades están viviendo con la contaminación acústica.

¿De qué se trata la investigación? Estamos estudiando las perspectivas comunitarias acerca de la contaminación acústica para crear un proyecto científico comunitario y una aplicación telefónica para medir el impacto del ruido. La idea es ayudar a promover cambios significativos y beneficios para las comunidades marginadas en América del Norte.

¿Quién está haciendo la investigación? Los ICBOs  (Un grupo de organizaciones comunitarias que representan a comunidades marginadas en toda América del Norte). Este trabajo es liderado por Metro Atlanta Urban Farm en Georgia, Camp Compass Academy en Pennsylvania , WorldBeat Center en California, CLUES en Minnesota, Green Jay Mayan Birding en México y el Laboratorio de Ornitología de la Universidad de Cornell.

¿Cuánto tiempo debe tomar? 10 minutos

¿Hay algún pago por mi participación? No hay pago por su participación, aunque al completar la encuesta podrá ingresar a un sorteo para ganar un par de auriculares con cancelación de ruido o un par de binoculares. Agradecemos mucho su valiosa contribución. Encuesta en Español: 

¡Ayúdenos a correr la voz!

Photo by Marilú López Fretts

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

NSF Awards New Grant to The ICBOs!

Photo by Jesse Graham of the WorldBeat Center.

More exciting news from our community! The National Science Foundation awarded the ICBOs and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology a three-year $2.5-million dollar grant to create a national community science project focused on noise pollution.

The ICBOs will be working together, following our rules based on the Jemez Principles to co-create this new project with our communities. What makes the project so exciting is the fact that three of our community researchers are named Co-Principal Investigators. The grant proposal was co-created with the ICBOs and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, living our mission, vision and values for building and maintaining equitable collaborations.

Our plan is to measure the impacts of noise pollution in inner cities on people and birds with the help of a co-created app. We plan to record noise levels and look at impacts on human well-being. In addition, we plan to create noise refuges and connect people with birds in our communities.

Nine community advisors representing underserved African American, Latino, and Native communities across the U.S., members of the ICBOs, will be part of the project. In addition, Metro Atlanta Urban Farm, in Atlanta, GA., Camp Compass Academy in Allentown, PA., WorldBeat Center in San Diego, CA., and Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) in St. Paul, MN. will be leading the project via community-based participatory research.

The project also includes other wonderful advisors with expertise on the non-auditory effects of noise pollution; community-based participatory research; equity, diversity, and inclusion in science and citizen science.

Congratulations to the ICBOs.

We'll keep you posted with our work!

ICBO Results: Authenticity and Motivation

Understanding motivation for forming collaborations and doing ‘outreach’ in underserved communities is important. Authenticity is especi...