Scientists all over the world are continually trying to gather data about the environment. Collecting new information is vital to the study and survival of the planet. However, they can’t be everywhere at once. Therefore, projects have been created for you to help the scientists. Citizen Science, according to National Geographic, is “projects in which volunteers and scientists work together to answer real-world questions and gather data.” Here are some projects in which you can get involved.
The study of birds has multiple projects in which you can combine your love of bird watching and helping scientists gather data. The easiest, if you are a bird expert, is simply bird watching and reporting what you see. To participate in a state-wide bird count contact your state’s ornithological society. There is also “ebird”. This online project has a checklist which allows people to report real-time bird sightings. Finally, check out “nest watch.” This online project allows people to monitor and report sightings and locations of birds’ nests.
Photographs are sometimes key in scientific study. Therefore, if you enjoy nature photography, than these projects are for you. The “Appalachian Mountain Club,” connects you with scientists that would like your mountain view photographs in order to study air quality and haze pollution. If you prefer plant or animal photos, join the “Great Nature Project.” This project allows you to upload your photos to a global database. This database will document biodiversity and can, therefore, monitor changes in the future. Finally, are you a phone photographer? Then, “iNaturalist” is the perfect app for you. You can upload photos and observations of any living creature around you, and upload to the app. Your finding get shared to the iNaturalist community in order to discuss your findings. All information uploaded is sent to a global biodiversity information facility.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency supports various water monitoring programs. Local community volunteers and students can analyze the water, through specific guidelines, and report their data to the respective project. If you live in Hawaii, you can participate in the “Eyes of the Reef Network.” This project targets underwater eco-systems, specifically coral reefs. Volunteers can help monitor coral bleaching and disease and marine invasive species.