Earth Day 2021: Citizen Science Projects

Care for the Earth: Become a Citizen Scientist

Through citizen science projects, volunteers share data about wild plants and animals with researchers and conservationists. You can participate on your own time, right in your neighborhood or community. There's a citizen science project for almost any interest.

General

  • iNaturalist   This app helps you identify plants and animals you encounter while also sharing data with researchers. After you upload a photo of plant or animal, iNatualist uses recognition software to make suggestions about the name of the species. The observation, whether of a rare insect or a common weed, is shared with scientific data repositories and contributes to the study of biodiversity.
  • Journey North  Report your first seasonal observation of various species to help track seasonal changes and migrations. A project of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.
  • Zooniverse  Volunteers study authentic objects of interest gathered by researchers, like images of faraway galaxies or videos of animals in their natural habitats, and then answer simple questions to help researchers classify their data.

Birds

  • Nestwatch  A nationwide monitoring program designed to track the reproductive status and trends of birds. Volunteers report nests they find and track their progress over the course of the spring and summer. Operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
  • ebird  On eBird you form a virtual list of all the different birds you see or hear at any location. Your sightings become part of a global effort to map bird ranges. Developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Plants

  • Project Budburst By monitoring the life cycle of plants in your area, you can help scientists study the effects of climate change. Operated by the Chicago Botanic Garden/

Insects

  • Beecology  Citizen scientists in Massachusetts contribute photos and data on native pollinator species. The information helps researchers understand the diversity and health of pollination systems.
  • Caterpillar Counts  To compare insect abundance over time and from one place to another, participants conduct surveys on trees and bushes. Online training workshops are planned for April 13 and 28.

Invasive Species

  • Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey Using sampling information provided by volunteers, scientists can identify areas that differ in the intensity of invasion and try to understand why these differences exist. 

Herpetology

  • FrogWatch USA: A citizen science program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting data on the calls of local frogs and toads.  

astronomy

  • Globe at Night This international citizen-science campaign raises public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen scientists to measure and submit their night sky brightness observations.

   
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