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Observer People

Headshot style image of Brian Campbell

Brian Campbell

Senior Earth Science Outreach Specialist at NASA Wallops Flight Facility
"Citizen science observations provide vital information that help researchers, at all levels, with a much more robust database that allows for the better understanding of how our planet is changing every day, every hour, every minute, every second."

Where are you from?  

I am originally from a small town called Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. I currently live in Salisbury, Maryland and work at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.

What do you do?  

I am a senior Earth science outreach specialist at NASA. I am currently the lead for the Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign, the science lead for GLOBE Observer: Trees, the education lead for the ICESat-2 Mission, an advisor on the GLOBE AREN Project team, and the Earth science outreach lead at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

What missions are you involved in and how do they relate to GLOBE Observer? 

I currently work with the ICESat-2 Mission, SMAP Mission, and GPM Mission Ground Validation Program. The ICESat-2 satellite, specifically, uses an onboard laser altimeter system to measure the height of objects on Earth. One thing that the satellite can measure is tree and canopy height. This aligns itself perfectly for data comparisons to the GLOBE Observer: Trees tool, where citizen scientists can measure the height of trees from the ground. The combination of the ground-based measurements from NASA GO and the satellite observations from ICESat-2 provide a much more complete picture of tree and canopy height on our planet.

What was your career path?  

After graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, I entered the classroom as a high school Earth & space science teacher. I taught for 4 years at the Cambridge South Dorchester High School in Cambridge, Maryland from 1997-2001.  During the summers of 1999 and 2000, I served as a NASA Science Teacher Ambassador at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center writing curriculum using the latest, cutting-edge NASA Earth science, specifically cryospheric science. In 2001, I was hired by a government contractor to do Earth science outreach at NASA Goddard. Since then, I have done outreach and education with missions such as SeaWiFS, Landsat, CloudSat, Aquarius, ICESat, SMAP, GPM, and ICESat-2.

Why is citizen science important to you?  

Citizen science observations provide vital information that help researchers, at all levels, with a much more robust database that allows for the better understanding of how our planet is changing every day, every hour, every minute, every second.

What advice do you have for people just getting into citizen science?  

All observations are important. If you have trouble take observations, that is all a part of the learning experience and the perfecting of your observation techniques. If your observations seem off, find out why, and then try again and evaluate.

What do you do for fun?  

I enjoy traveling with my family, golfing, and bowling. My little piece of heaven is snorkeling in the waters surrounding a small Haitian island called Amiga Island. It is absolutely amazing!

Who/what inspires you? 

My NASA GLOBE Observer colleagues inspire me. Everyone has so much to offer, so many rich ideas. Our team is absolutely amazing. Also, seeing the amazing amount of citizen science data coming in from all over the world is so inspiring.

Any favorite quote(s) that you would like to share?  

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” -- Rachel Carson