Citizen Science: Empowering a Robust National Effort
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EDT
with Honorary Co-Hosts
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
June 7, 2016, Noon – 1:30 p.m., Russell Senate Office Building, SR-385
Anyone can learn how to use the scientific method in ways that contribute to investigations of how nature works and applying that understanding to develop new technologies. As professional scientists explore the universe, they find instances and places where more hands, eyes, and voices are needed to collect, analyze, and report data: Examples include documenting the biology and chemistry around rivers and lakes, monitoring the weather in sparsely populated regions, or logging the daily course of a disease or exercise regimen. Citizen scientists are increasingly answering the call, be it as enthusiastic hobbyists, STEM students augmenting their learning, or empowered friends and family of medical patients. This panel will discuss how various citizens are enhancing the nation’s scientific enterprise as well as ensuring that the government maximizes its benefits while avoiding any negative impact on the progress of science.
Jamie L. Vernon, Sigma Xi and American Scientist
Darlene Cavalier, Arizona State University, SciStarter
Sophia Liu, United States Geological Survey
David Rabkin, Museum of Science, Boston
Andrew “Andy” Torelli, Bowling Green State University
You are invited!
The Crowd & The Cloud, a public television series about citizen science, crowdsourcing and mobile tech, will be live at the U.S. Science & Engineering Festival this weekend to help celebrate Citizen Science Day (Sat., April 16th) in two important ways, both of which we invite you to participate in and share:
1. Throughout the Festival, C&C will be reporting live from the event floor via social media. Their goal is to visit every citizen science-related project at the show, and share something about them with you, online — and on the social media wall at our SciStarter booth. On Saturday, you are invited to share a social post (or posts) about your own citizen science project, in words and ideally images as well.
Just use the hashtag #CrowdCloudLive on Twitter, Periscope or Instagram (SciStarter editor’s note: also use #MyCitSci so we can share your stories in May!)
Together, we hope to celebrate hundreds of CS projects from around the world.
2. At 1pm EST/10am PST on Saturday, C&C is hosting a live Google Hangout on Air with an all-star lineup of CS experts and project leaders. Watch the live stream on YouTube:
The YouTube link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXXLBYNub3Q
During the Hangout, you can ask questions by using the hashtag #CrowdCloudLive.
Join us for a very special weekend of citizen science activities and social sharing. You can learn more about The Crowd & The Cloud by visiting their website.
The C&C Team
Philadelphia Inquirer and SciStarter partner to inform and engage millions of readers and local science leaders in citizen science
A “citizen science” movement is sweeping the country and now millions of Philadelphians who want to collaborate with leading scientists can visit Philly.com to join cutting-edge research projects.
The Philadelphia Media Network (Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com and Philadelphia Daily News) is teaming up with SciStarter, a Philadelphia-based company with global reach, to present featured citizen science projects, events, and instruments through a dynamic project showcase and blog. Each week, SciStarter’s editorial team will feature a new opportunity for millions of Philadelphians to take part in, from SciStarter’s curated Project Finder. There will be something for everyone, ranging from opportunities to analyze and classify cancer cells online to participating in outdoor bioblitzes to track migratory paths of local species and more. The goal is to make it simple for everyone to jump in and contribute to scientific research. Read the rest of this entry »
YLACES extends SciStarter grant to recruit, train, equip citizen scientists to ground-truth NASA satellite data.
NASA scientists are on a mission to map global soil moisture, and through SciStarter, they’re teaming up with citizen scientists to gather valuable data from the ground to complement and validate what is seen from space.
Known as the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission, the satellite will help scientists understand links among Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles; reduce uncertainties in climate predictions; and enhance the ability to monitor and predict natural hazards like floods and droughts. SMAP data have additional practical applications for citizens everywhere, including improved weather forecasting and crop yield predictions.
In July 2015, Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (YLACES) announced a $50,000 grant to SciStarter (SciStarter.com) to recruit, train, and equip teams to measure and report soil moisture measurements at regular intervals. Measurement protocols and data handling are made available through the GLOBE Program, and data are made available to local decision-makers and used to help validate and calibrate NASA’s SMAP satellite measurements. The grant also made it possible for teams to receive instruments needed for this project including heat lamps, digital scales and graduated cylinders.
On mornings when SMAP flies over a team’s site, citizen scientists take soil samples from the top 5 cm (2 inches) of soil, weigh it, dry it under a heat lamp, and weigh it again. The decrease in weight is equal to the mass of water that was in the sample – its soil moisture. Measurements are simple to take and appropriate for all citizen scientists, including youth. Each participating team committed to providing ten measurements .
Now, YLACES has committed to extend this SciStarter activity with an additional grant of $30,000. Funding will expand and enhance the existing network of citizen scientists and provide additional training and equipment to measure rainfall and surface temperature. A major El Ñino is underway. By taking these additional measurements participants will join in GLOBE’s El Ñino measurement campaign.
Brian Campbell, a member of the SMAP team at NASA, emphasized the importance of the measurements that will be taken on the ground. “Having citizen scientists collect data is vital to the SMAP Mission. Their data can be compared to the SMAP satellite data and used as a source of validation. This validation will allow for a much more robust and accurate dataset, giving an optimal understanding of global soil moisture.”
How to Participate in the SMAP Project
Science enthusiasts, people who are concerned about their environment and our global water resources, teachers, athletes, families, civic groups, gardeners – anyone who will commit to taking regular soil measurements – can become part of this important research. Indicate interest by completing a brief online form.
To get started, send an email to SMAP@SciStarter.com
SciStarter, Science Cheerleader, Astronomy Magazine, and Discover Magazine exhibit will kick off events in celebration of Citizen Science Day with Public TV’s The Crowd & The Cloud!
Washington, DC – (February 15, 2016) – Celebrate Citizen Science at the USA Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF) by doing fun activities that will contribute to meaningful research on the environment, genetics, biology and more. Visit booth # 3523 to learn what citizen science is, and how to do interesting projects at home using the SciStarter website. At the booth you’ll meet experts and editors from Astronomy Magazine, Discover Magazine, and the upcoming public television series The Crowd & The Cloud. You can participate in research with scientists who will join us. Meet members of the Science Cheerleader group (current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science and technology careers) who will perform science-themed routines, talk to kids about their dual careers as scientists and professional cheerleaders, sign autographs and lead citizen science activities selected from SciStarter.
If you can’t attend the Festival in person, go online to join a live Google Hangout (url will be shared via Twitter @SciStarter and #CitSciDay) with USASEF attendees to participate in a discussion with citizen science participants/enthusiasts from across the U.S. and around the world. The Hangout will be led by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, Host of The Crowd & The Cloud, and participants include Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter and Science Cheerleader, and a Professor at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Science in Society.
The hangout will showcase events from the country in celebration of National Citizen Science Day! SciStarter is a proud partner of National Citizen Science Day, presented by the Citizen Science Association. This celebration kicks off at the USASEF on April 16 and runs through May 21, 2016. Hundreds of events will be held throughout the country, and you can find them here.
Citizen Science Projects Featured at USASEF
FaceTopo: Help scientists build a taxonomy of the world’s adult (14+) faces by taking a 3D selfie at the USASEF and posting it to the Facetopo database! FaceTopo will map, measure, quantify, and compare a huge variety of human facial morphology to increase understanding of variation in human facial phenotypes.
Genetics and Smell Chemistry: According to the Monell Center two individuals’ smell perception differs by 30% due to a variation in the olfactory receptor gene OR10G4. You and your child can step right on up to our booth, take a whiff of a smelly cotton ball, and together, we’ll help researchers catalog the variations of smell perception from parent to child to better understand the degree of olfactory perception variation through inheritable DNA changes.
NASA’s Soil Moisture: NASA’s SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite is orbiting the globe every three days to measure soil moisture levels. NASA and GLOBE.gov need your help ground-truthing the data, in part, to help calibrate the accuracy of NASA’s satellite mission. This will improve weather forecasts, detail water/energy/carbon cycles, monitor droughts, predict floods, and assist crop productivity.We’ll show you how to obtain the instruments needed for this project, and how to get started!
The Great Sunflower Project: The Great Sunflower Project uses data collected on Lemon Queen sunflowers to examine the effects of pesticides on pollinators, identify the key plants to support healthy pollinator communities, and evaluate and improve gardens, parks and other green spaces for pollinators. Pick up your free pack of sunflower seeds and spend a few minutes with us to learn how to observe your new sunflower plant for five minutes to record and share information about all the pollinators that visit.
ZomBee Watch: Scientists believe that the Zombie Fly, Apocephalus borealis, is parasitizing honey bees. Help researchers determine where honey bees are being parasitized by the Zombie Fly. You’ll learn to spot infected bees (we’ll show you what that nasty Zombie Fly looks like in person!), build your own bee catcher, and report observations to this project.
Importance of Citizen Science to Society
Science is our most reliable system for gaining new knowledge and citizen science is the public involvement in inquiry, data collection, and the discovery of new scientific knowledge. A citizen science project can involve one person or millions of people collaborating towards a common goal. SciStarter’s website connects scientists and community leaders to more than 1,100 citizen science projects and anyone wishing to contribute to science research.
About the Partners in Citizen Science Booth #3523
SciStarter connects people to real science they can do by making it easy for people to find and join projects from its dynamic database featuring more than 1100 citizen science projects, events and tools!
Discover Magazine’s mission is to enable readers to lead richer lives by explaining and expanding their universe. Each month they publish in-depth information and analysis on various topics ranging from technology and space to the living world. Astronomy Magazine contains the most absorbing material relating to the world of astronomy on every page.
Science Cheerleader works with more than 300 current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who playfully challenge stereotypes, inspire kids to consider careers in science and technology, and encourage everyday people to get involved in real science activities.
The upcoming public TV science documentary series, The Crowd & The Cloud (Spring 2017), presents stories of citizen science, crowdsourcing and community science from across America and around the world. Some are classic and decades-old, such as the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Others are just starting: like Smartfin, which is partnering with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to add hi-tech sensors to surfboards to track ocean acidification. These and many other projects come to life through engaging human stories, with C&C’s online and social media designed to help “turn viewers into active citizen scientists.”