Author Archive

Meet the Spring interns!

By April 14th, 2015 at 2:33 am | Comment

My name is Hined Rafeh, and I’m a first year graduate student at Drexel University studying Science, Technology, and Society. I am interested in studying citizen science and mixing it up with project owners, participants and everyone in between. I hope to meet you and other members of the SciStarter community at some of the upcoming SciStarter events I am organizing at the Philadelphia Science Festival between April 23-May 2!

 

 

ErnestHi, my name is Ernest Clymer and I am a junior at Temple University. My area of study is marketing and I hope to graduate with my B.A. by 2016. At this time I am interning at SciStarter not only in hopes of gaining experience with a start-up but being a part of an organization that focuses on building public engagement in science! SciStarter, to me, is the future of how we will obtain and share information with other people all over the world and I’m happy to be able to further promote these efforts through social media and working on promotions for upcoming events taking place in the Philadelphia area!

 

Editor’s note: It’s been such a pleasure working with Hined and Ernest. Their creativity is remarkable and inspiring! We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them!

Categories: Citizen Science

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Citizen Science at the Cambridge Science Festival!

By April 2nd, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Comment

cambridge science festival scistarter citizen science

  • Saturday, April 18 12-4 pm at the Cambridge, MA Free Library

Come join the SciStarter team at the Cambridge, MA Science Festival and get involved in citizen science projects to monitor water and air quality, capture and track bees infested by zombie flies, build low-cost instruments for your own research, and more.

Meet the Science Cheerleaders, too! They’re well-versed in citizen science because they activate projects all over the country!

We’re partnering with Discover Magazine and Astronomy Magazine, longtime supporters of citizen-based and community science! Swing by and pick up a copy of a magazine or a citizen science pin and take advantage of special opportunities to subscribe to these magazines.

If you’d like to showcase your favorite project at our booth, email Hilary@ScienceCheerleader.com !

“What’s in store for citizen scientists this spring,” WHYY’s The Pulse

By March 20th, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Comment

Credit: Sarah Newman

Credit: Sarah Newman

As part of SciStarter’s regular radio series with WHYY’s The Pulse, we highlight new developments in citizen science and a few projects ripe for spring!

As the weather starts warming up and we all begin shedding our thick, winter coats, a crop of new citizen science projects are enticing us to get outdoors in the name of science.

Darlene Cavalier, founder of the citizen science website SciStarter and regular Pulse contributor, says a top project this spring involves paying attention to phenology, or the life cycle changes of plants and animals.

“This might be changes in the nesting habits of birds, certainly in the leafing cycle of plants near you and, specifically, looking at the timing that your lilacs bloom and when they die,” says Cavalier.

All of that information is connected in the sense that birds tend to time their nesting habits to when insects will likely be around to feed their baby birds. And those insects are dependent on certain plants to be around to survive.

Cavalier says the information that’s collected through this phenology project will eventually help inform climate assessment acts in the U.S.

As part of the Philadelphia Science Festival in April, the SciStarter crew will be at the Schuylkill Nature Center in Roxborough to get people involved in the Zombee Watch project.

“We have zombie flies that actually infect honeybees and we’ll tell you how to look for that,” says Cavalier. “It’s pretty disgusting and it’s also eerily attractive for some reason.”

But Cavalier says not all scientific research has to happen outdoors.

Read the rest of this post and listen to the radio segment.

100 Citizen Science apps for your Android

By March 3rd, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Comment

Have at em! Click on the image to find an app or two for you. (Courtesy of Google Play.)

citizen science apps

 

 

Reports from the Hackfest at the Citizen Science Association conference

By February 18th, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Comments (2)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Citizen Science Hackfest on 2/11 at the Citizen Science Association’s conference in San Jose, CA! This hands-on and discussion-driven meet-up was a wonderful opportunity for participants to  dream up AND build creative tools to improve the field of citizen science! .

Once we settled into our digs (conveniently situated between the bar and food!) and after our ears adjusted to the noise around us, Arvind Suresh (SciStarter’s managing editor) kicked things off with introductions and each project owner pitched their ideas.
hackfest introductions

 

Steve Gano, our director of product development at SciStarter, organized the pitches into themes.

citizen science hackfest project ideas

We divided the projects into four groups:

1) Platform Interoperability. This team worked on what is needed to better support online data management for citizen science projects . There’s so much work to be explored here. Contact Greg Newman (Gregory.Newman at ColoState dot Edu) if you’d like to join the ongoing dialogue.

 

platforms

platform interoperability citizen science

2) Participant experience: finding projects, submitting and sharing individual points of data. We brainstormed ways to help researchers (biologists, in particular)  subscribe to fresh data alerts for their species and regions of interest from many (wildlife observation) citizen science platforms, and enable observers on those platforms to be notified if their observation was sent to someone. We also discussed the development of a simple, accurate representation of a project’s geographic area of interest which is important not only for validating the contributed data, but also for finding and recruiting potential participants who live or visit the area of interest and may be able to contribute. We’ve decided to continue these discussions and if you’d like to join us, email info@scistarter.com to indicate your interest. 

hackfest finding citizen science projects

 

3) Prototyping a data collection app.  S. Andrew Sheppard and Teal Wyckoff worked on Species Tracker, a concept for a mobile app for biodiversity monitoring, inspired by the WyoBio project.  They used the wq framework to create a simple prototype that allows anyone to upload photos and GPS coordinates together with species information.  The prototype and source code are available online at species.wq.io.

prototype citizen science

4) Updating Wikipedia definition of Citizen Science: Between 80-90% of Wikipedia editors are male, so Dr. Caren Cooper, particularly wanted to encourage women to participate. One concern raised at the hackfest was that there’s not much oversight on who can edit someone else’s contribution so it’s a frustrating experience when someone puts time and energy into a thoughtful definition only to have it wiped out and replaced by more self-serving definitions. Contact Caren Cooper at Caren.Cooper at naturalsciences dot org to get involved in this effort.

wikipedia citizen science

 

As these projects progress, we’ll post updates here.

Special thanks to @MarDixon for providing early guidance and support! She’s a pro at this…and she’s my sister!