Dear Public Lab Community,
It is with a heavy heart that the Board of Directors announces Public Lab will cease formal operations at the end of April 2023. With a challenging economy and the impacts of the ongoing pandemic, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to end staff-supported programming and take most services offline. We’re grateful for your support and engagement with the Public Lab community.
Moving forward, Public Lab will continue to function in a limited, volunteer-run capacity. Changes to our programming include:
No full-time staff support. Public Lab is unable to engage on new projects, programs, or provide real-time support to inquiries. Virtual programming, such as Open Call, will no longer be available.
The Kits Store will formally close. Kits will no longer be available for purchase. Information on Public Lab DIY kits will remain on publiclab.org. Information on kit sourcing and materials can be found at publiclab.org/kits.
PublicLab.org will remain functional. We are working to move the Public Lab website to a free - and fully functional - server, so the community can continue to use the website, tools, and community-based functions. Mapknitter.org and SpectralWorkBench.org will remain offline for the time being. Should you be interested in re-coding the site to operate as a free, but static site, please engage with our coding community at GitHub.
We encourage continued engagement, posting, and sharing of information on PublicLab.org. Our goal is to maintain this open-source, participatory resource for community members to share their experiences with community science.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us. Public Lab is proud of all we have accomplished together, and its impact on the open technology and science movement. This breadth of community and programming has been built by many hands over the years, and we have the deepest gratitude to our departing staff and those who served before.
Public Lab remains rooted in the belief that the best ideas and solutions come from on-the-ground communities with deep knowledge of local issues in close, equitable, and sustainable partnerships with networks that bring capacity, science, and technology. Programming over the years successfully demonstrated that science and inquiry truly can shift power structures so that anyone can be a change agent.
We are proud to have supported place-based organizing, inquiry-based environmental education, and community science research. Over the last three years, we've hosted four place-based fellowship teams, led by community leaders around the United States working on climate and environmental health issues in their own backyard. These projects supported residents to easily and reliably track issues so they can make better-informed decisions, determine action in urgent situations, and inform policies that affect their every day. These efforts were aided by our research program that provided up-to-date information on science and legal advancements in environmental topics, and hands-on training in coordination with Public Lab kits.
Connected to these place-based efforts, we supported classroom educators to further student-led, inquiry-based learning through community science. We successfully supported numerous schools in the Greater New Orleans area, the Chattahoochee and Chesapeake Watersheds, and in western Washington to implement Community Science in the Classroom curriculum and the related Messages from the Mississippi program. This student-led approach emphasizes local and traditional knowledge, community ownership of research, and working together in scalable networks to encourage collaborative learning and civic engagement. We’re heartened that these programs and curricula will continue in classrooms across the country.
We recognize that our closure will be a disappointment to many in the community. Please know that this decision was not made lightly, and we have explored all options before arriving at this conclusion. As operations wind down, we will do everything possible to minimize this impact. We are working to ensure that resources and materials remain available to anyone who needs them, and will do our best to provide support and guidance during this transition period.
Once again, thank you for being part of this journey. We are so proud of the years of accomplishments and shared exploration, and grateful for the support and enthusiasm of this community. It has been an honor to work with you all.
The Public Lab Board of Directors