Archive for the ‘Ecology & Environment’ Category

Celebrating the citizen in citizen science

By November 2nd, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Comment

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

I believe that citizen science is about citizenship as well as science. By this, I don’t mean citizenship in a specific country, but in a larger community. As a citizen scientist focusing on the natural world, I become a better citizen of that world—the world of tree frogs, say, or hummingbirds or dragonflies. Citizen science makes me a better citizen of a particular place, like the river where I am looking for macroinvertebrates or the mountain range where I document invasive plant species.

Recently, I was pleased to read a paper in the journal Conservation Biology that explores whether participating in citizen science also leads to a more conventional citizenship. The authors test the theory that citizen science is a path to social and political action by taking a close look at the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that relies on volunteers to monitor beached seabirds from Mendocino, California to Kotzebue, Alaska. Read the rest of this entry »

Protect Your Local Watershed: Become a Streamkeeper!

By September 30th, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Comment

By: Nohra Murad and Jenny Cutraro

Maintaining clean waterways: it’s a challenge confronted at the local level by communities across the globe. Stormwater runoff, trash, even sewage overflow, often contaminate urban waterways, degrading wildlife habitat, reducing opportunities for recreation, and placing drinking water supplies at risk.

Stormwater pipe. Image Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stormwater pipe. Image Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program (CC BY-NC 2.0)

To confront this challenge, citizen scientists across the country have come together to monitor and protect their watersheds. One such example is Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Watershed, Inc., a partnership between researchers and enthusiastic Philadelphia-area residents working together to take care of the watershed, or network of streams, creeks, and other bodies of water, that drains into the Delaware River . The initiative exists to identify and service areas of the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed that need cleaning up in order to provide clean water for recreation. Most of these areas are in suburban neighborhoods near the Takoony Creek in Montgomery County, which becomes Tacony-Frankford Creek when it crosses the border into Philadelphia. Read the rest of this entry »

Connecting Citizen Scientists to Watersheds: A Conversation with Kim Hachadoorian

By September 22nd, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Comment

By Russ Campbell

Brandywine Creek, which runs through southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, once poweredBrandywine Creek, which runs through southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, once powered the mills  that supported European settlements in the late 17th and 18th centuries.  Today, people rely on the creek for recreation and as a source of drinking water.  SciStarter contributor Russ Campbell recently spoke to Kim Hachadoorian, The Nature Conservancy Delawares project manager for Stream Stewards, a citizen science project  that seeks to preserve this natural resource. Read the rest of this entry »

Climate Change Uncovers Our Past

By September 16th, 2016 at 9:50 am | Comment

When we think about climate change, we usually picture extreme temperatures, mega-storms, and rising seas disrupting our collective future.

But climate change is also erasing our past.

At our poles, melting ice is exposing and washing out new archeological discoveries. In the world’s arid regions, severe sandstorms are unearthing and eroding buried treasures. And on our coasts, rainstorms are revealing ancient reserves and wiping them out, often before scientists can study them. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in YOUR Water?

By September 15th, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Comment

Water: We can’t live without it.
Photo: USFWS

Water is one of our most precious natural resources, so it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of scientists in need of your help to keep an eye on rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, and taps.  Below, our editors highlight five water monitoring projects. You can find hundreds more water projects with our SciStarter Water Project Finder.

Would you like your water monitoring project featured on SciStarter? Simply click here to add it to our Project Finder!
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

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