SciStarter Blog http://scistarter.com/blog Covering the people, projects, and phenomena of citizen science Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:25:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Winter Citizen Science Projects To Warm Your Heart and Mindhttp://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/winter-citizen-science-projects-warm-heart-mind/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/winter-citizen-science-projects-warm-heart-mind/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:41:07 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10895 Winter weather is upon us! Many folks bundle up and venture outside to participate in citizen science, while others look for projects they can do indoors. Here’s a mitten-full of indoor and outdoor cold-weather projects for you to explore. Cheers! The SciStarter Team   Weather-IT This project is run by a graduate student who needs your […]

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Photo:  NPS

Photo: NPS

Winter weather is upon us!

Many folks bundle up and venture outside to participate in citizen science, while others look for projects they can do indoors.

Here’s a mitten-full of indoor and outdoor cold-weather projects for you to explore.

 cloud watching

Weather-IT

This project is run by a graduate student who needs your help! Now through the end of February, she’s looking for people to provide information on snowflakes, cloud patterns, and more. Get Started! 

 penguin

Study Adélie Penguin breeding

Through Penguin Science, students have access to photos, videos, and field data of Antarctic penguins. The project provides materials and activities to help your class and family study penguins. Get Started!

Photo: New York State

Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey

Calling all New Yorkers! The Department of Environmental Conservation is monitoring the health of the turkey population and wants you to report sightings of winter turkey flocks. Get Started!

Photo: NOVA

The NOVA Cloud Lab

This is a great project to do when you want to stay inside and keep warm. Classify clouds and investigate storms from the comfort of your own home. Get Started!

rink

RinkWatch

Do you live in Canada? Do you have an outdoor ice rink? If you do, this project is perfect for you! Report the conditions on your rink throughout the winter and compare them to rinks throughout the country. Get Started!

Photo: Nature Abounds

IceWatch USA

Have a body of water near year? Volunteers are needed to track weather and wildlife conditions on water bodies throughout the winter. Get Started!

 

Are you in San Jose/CA, Philadelphia/PA, Boston/MA, or Atlanta/GA? Would you like to help us organize events there? Email info@scistarter.com! If you’d like your citizen science project featured on SciStarter, email Jenna@scistarter.com.

Going to the Citizen Science Association’s Conference in San Jose, CA? Suggest or join a project for our hackfest.

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Some Citizen Science Predictions [Guest Post]http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/citizen-science-predictions-guest-post/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/citizen-science-predictions-guest-post/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:58 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10838 Editor’s Note: This guest post by Chandra Clarke originally appeared on the author’s Citizen Science Center blog. Projects mentioned in this post including Loss of the Night, EteRNA and Sound Around You are all part of SciStarter’s ever growing project database. Find a citizen science project that tickles your fancy using the project finder! I’ve been covering the […]

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Editor’s Note: This guest post by Chandra Clarke originally appeared on the author’s Citizen Science Center blog. Projects mentioned in this post including Loss of the Night, EteRNA and Sound Around You are all part of SciStarter’s ever growing project database. Find a citizen science project that tickles your fancy using the project finder!

I’ve been covering the citizen science movement for a very long time now; indeed, I’ve been writing about citizen science in one form or another since before it was really a movement.

Recently, I sat down and had a think about what I had seen in the past, as well as some of trends that I’ve been noticing. Today, I’m going to review some of those and also go out on a limb with some predictions as to where I see citizen science heading.

It’s Definitely a Thing, Now

In the last three or so years, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in the amount of mainstream interest in citizen science. Where it was once just the province of a smaller group of hardcore geeks (think: early adopters of the SETI@Home client), it now seems like everyone is talking about citizen science. Anecdotally, I’ve been interviewed by a fairly wide range of media outlets — everything from CBC Radio to Woman’s World. On the hard data side, this screen shot of the Google Trends entry on citizen science bears this out:

Source: Google Trends
Source: Google Trends

 

There’s More Variety Than Ever

Citizen science projects are busting out all over, so there’s now a really impressive range of both topics and types of projects. Whereas once your choice was between the Christmas Bird Count, deploying BOINC, or playing with images from Mars, now you can do everything from raising Monarch butterflies to being a paleontologist in your kitchen.

Citizen Science is Converging with Other Movements

Open source, participatory civics, activism, maker spaces, crowdfunding: citizen science is part of an even broader shift across many segments of society, and in some cases it’s increasingly hard to see where one movement begins and another ends.

For example, Pybossa is open source software that will allow you to create your own citizen science project; meanwhile the Open Space Agency is open sourcing the plans for pro-astronomy grade telescope. Projects like Skywarn or Safecast are civic applications that want you to help your fellow citizens. Extreme citizen science tries to take the concept to developing countries for an empowering approach, while the DIY and maker crowds dive into all sorts of aspects of science, including biology.

Gaming is Here to Stay

There are an increasing number of citizen science games, some with the data processing and manipulation right out front like EteRNA, and some not quite so much, like Reverse the Odds. This not to be confused with the gamification of citizen science projects: that is, the addition of game elements like leaderboards, badges, scoring, etc., to an otherwise non-game-based project. (The jury is still out as to how effective gamification is at improving user retention.)

Point and Click Projects Are Here to Stay… For a While

Zooniverse has pretty much perfected the model of citizen science projects wherein users are presented with a bit of data (most often an image) and are asked to perform a simple task (usually identify and locate a specific feature). As more and more people get interested in citizen science in general, the platform (and others like it) will likely continue to register new users faster than it ‘loses’ them. This is a good thing, because the participation dropoff curves appear to be pretty steep. Eventually, however, as more interesting ways to do citizen science continue to proliferate, and if we ever see a ‘peak citizen science’ (i.e., the most number of people likely to do citizen science are already doing it), this will no longer be the case.

On the flip side, I think that image processing technology will replace the need for human participation here sooner, rather than later, in part because mega-companies like Google and Baidu are throwing boatloads of money at the problem, and because technology improvement curves are much steeper than we realize.

But Apps are Where It’s At

The number of citizen science apps — and by this I mean the programs that run on tablets or smartphones — is going up, and that has opened up a whole new frontier in citizen science. Whereas before, most citizen science has been about data processing, apps allow for more datacollection. Apps like Sound Around You or Loss of the Night are good examples.

However, I think we’ve only just barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with current mobile technology. The average smart phone now comes with an accelerometer, a camera, a video camera, a magnetometer, an ambient light detector, GPS, and obviously, a speaker and a microphone, all as standard equipment. Considering how creative people are getting with simple GoPro cameras and their special mounts, or cameras attached to drones just for fun, there’s clearly a lot of scope for some much more interesting citizen science apps than what we’re currently doing.

That Internet of Things We Keep Hearing About

As sensors become cheaper and cheaper, and the Internet becomes even more ubiquitous, the average citizen, with or without connection to an official citizen science project, will soon be able to measure and track pretty much anything. (Seriously, check out those links to see what’s coming, especially if you’re looking for ideas.) Anyone will be able to deploy sensors, and this will in turn generate huge amounts of highly granular data. Indeed, most of us will deploy sensors, even if not entirely deliberately, because they’re going to be embedded in the products we use.

In some ways, we’re just beginning to build a massive nervous system for ourselves and our planet, and it’s going to teach us all sorts of amazing things. We don’t yet know what we don’t know.

But it’s going to be very interesting. Stay tuned.


chandra_clarke2Chandra Clarke is an award-winning business woman, prolific writer, and a passionate advocate of learning and knowledge. You can see her citizen science blog at CitizenScienceCenter.com and her personal blog at ChandraKClarke.com.

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Propose or Join a Citizen Science Hackfest Project!http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/propose-join-citizen-science-hackfest-project/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/propose-join-citizen-science-hackfest-project/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:20:59 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10841 Propose or join a project or activity for the SciStarter Hackfest at the Citizen Science Association Conference! What: A hands-on and discussion-driven meet-up where everyone participates in dreaming up AND building creative tools to improve the field of citizen science! Where: Citizen Science 2015 Conference, San Jose, CA Who: The SciStarter team and YOU! Why: […]

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Propose or join a project or activity for the SciStarter Hackfest at the Citizen Science Association Conference!

Be a part of SciStarter's hackfest at CitSci 2015 in San Jose, California!

Be a part of SciStarter’s hackfest at CitSci 2015 in San Jose, California!

What: A hands-on and discussion-driven meet-up where everyone participates in dreaming up AND building creative tools to improve the field of citizen science!

Where: Citizen Science 2015 Conference, San Jose, CA

Who: The SciStarter team and YOU!

Why: To capitalize on the collective wisdom (and desire to act!) at the Citizen Science Association Conference

The inaugural conference of the Citizen Science Association will take place February 11-12 in San Jose, California and the SciStarter team is looking forward to soaking up new information during the scheduled sessions and talks!

We’ll also contribute to these conversations through a few presentations and an interactive, “roll-up-your-sleeves!” hackfest designed for everyone.

Will you join us? Learn more about SciStarter’s past Hackfests here.

First, make sure you have registered for the Citizen Science 2015 Conference if you want to participate in person. You can join us remotely, too. Just let us know how you plan to participate when you sign up.

Then, fill out this form to let us know you’re coming so we know how many people to expect. Remember, ALL contributions are valuable, and some projects may be discussion-based (no programming skills required). All projects should spark the start of something great! Just bring your creativity, enthusiasm and talents and we’ll make sure you’ll have fun!

Do you have a Hackfest idea or project you’d like people to know about or join at the event? Great!

Use this form to propose a project for the Hackfest at the Citizen Science Association meeting, February 11, 2015, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the San Jose Convention Center!

Here’s the running list of proposed projects! Just click on the image to learn more about the proposed project.

 

scistarter robot
1.  Agile Citizen Science
Join this group to participate in a brainstorm session to generate ideas and examples of possible agile citizen science projects and of the design features for a digital platform that would support those projects. Click to learn more.

scistarter robot
2. Locating Citizen Science Activity
Having a simple, accurate representation of a project’s geographic area of interest 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. Click to learn more.

wikipedia icon
3. Update Wikipedia Entry for Citizen Science
You’ll learn how to add content to Wikipedia! Between 80-90% of Wikipedia editors are male, so I, Dr. Caren Cooper, particularly want to encourage women to participate. Click to learn more.

 

scistarter fresh data
4. Fresh Data/Notify Me!
We want to help biologists 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. Click to learn more.

 

scistarter fresh data
5. Hackfest for the world’s biggest fish!
Produce a mobile- and tablet-friendly spot mapping tool to allow whale shark researchers to quickly map the spots on a whale shark in the browser of their favorite device and then submit that pattern to our existing grid computer. In short, we need some help with JavaScript to create a simple tool for shark researchers all over the world. Click to learn more.

 

citsci hackfest
6. Citizen Science Web Platform Needs Activity
Help those who develop citizen science web platforms / websites design and create better solutions for your needs. Come to this brainstorm session to offer your insights into what is needed to better support online data management for citizen science projects. Click to learn more.

 

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Hash Out Citizen Science in Twitter Chat Sessionshttp://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/hash-citizen-science-twitter-chat-sessions/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/hash-citizen-science-twitter-chat-sessions/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 15:12:58 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10852 #CitSciChat Starting this month, you can tune in and take part in monthly discussion sessions about citizen science. The discussions take place on Twitter and anyone is welcome to join with questions, answers, comments, and ideas. You can follow the discussion at the hashtag #CitSciChat. The monthly #CitSciChat are sponsored by SciStarter and The Counter […]

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citscichat_logo#CitSciChat

Starting this month, you can tune in and take part in monthly discussion sessions about citizen science. The discussions take place on Twitter and anyone is welcome to join with questions, answers, comments, and ideas. You can follow the discussion at the hashtag #CitSciChat.

The monthly #CitSciChat are sponsored by SciStarter and The Counter Culture, which is my new research lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. These Twitter chats are designed to bring citizen scientists, project managers, students, and scientists together to share ideas, knowledge, and resources. We’ll discuss news, policies, discoveries, papers, and projects. The chats are opportunities for people around the world to meet and share their experiences with citizen science.

Whether you are experienced with Twitter or not, I hope you will find it easy to take part. Here’s how it works. I’m the moderator (@CoopSciScoop) and for each session I will invite a few guests with varied expertise and who enjoy lively discussions. I’ll pose question (Q1, Q2, etc.) and guest panelists and others will answer (prefaced with A1, A2, etc). Others can answer too, and pose related questions (label them, e.g., Q1a, Q1b, etc). There are no expectations that everyone will agree, but there are expectations that everyone will be courteous, polite, and respectful. Know that it’s okay to simply follow along, but I hope you will join the conversation. If you do, be sure to remember to include the hashtag #CitSciChat so that others in the conversation don’t miss your Tweets. I will Storify each session and post the recap on this blog.

The #CitSciChat follows in the footsteps of many other Twitter chats. For example, there are Twitter journal clubs, such as #microtwjc for discussions of microbiology papers (initiated by @_zoonotica_). There are chat sessions like #StuSciChat that connects high school students and scientists (moderated by Adam Taylor @2footgiraffe) and #STEMchat that connects parents, educators, and STEM professionals (moderated by Kim Moldofsky @MakerMom).  A very popular #Edchat, founded by Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell), hosts conversations among educators.

Citizen science chats take place on Twitter at #CitSciChat the last Wednesday (Thursday in Australia) of every month, unless otherwise noted. The first will be January 28 (29th in Australia). We’ll increase in their frequency if interest levels are high. To involve people across the globe, chats take place 7-8pm GMT, which is 2-3pm ET in USA and Thursday 6-7am ET in Australia. Each session will focus on a different theme. To suggest a project or theme for an upcoming chat, send me a tweet @CoopSciScoop!

January theme:

Building A Community of Practice: Organizing the Organizers in Citizen Science

I’ve invited guests among the leadership of the Citizen Science Association, the European Citizen Science Association, and Citizen Science Network Australia. These panelists will discuss how these organizations are helping coordinate practitioners across the many disciplines that engage the public in research.

Panelists to follow:

From US:

  • Darlene Cavalier @Scicheer – CSA
  • Mary Ford @maryeford – CSA
  • Jennifer Shirk @ShirkSci – CSA (tentative)
  • Martin Storksdieck @Storksdieck – CSA

From Europe:

  • Muki Haklay @mhaklay – CSA & ESCA
  • Fermin Serrano @Ibercivis – ECSA
  • Joseph Perello @OpenSystemsUB – ECSA

From Australia:

  • @CitSciOz – CSNA
  • Michelle Neil @Michelle_Neil – CSNA

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What is killing California’s trees, and what can you do about it?http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/killing-californias-trees-can/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/killing-californias-trees-can/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:00:18 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10805 Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the author’s blog. Project SCARAB is one of more than 800 great citizen science projects on SciStarter. Use our project finder to find one that you can participate in! The great thing about living in a major port city such as Los Angeles is having access to ideas and […]

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(Eskalen Lab. UC-Riverside, Reproduced with permission)

Trees infested by the polyphagus shothole borer in California (Eskalen Lab. UC-Riverside, Reproduced with permission)

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the author’s blog. Project SCARAB is one of more than 800 great citizen science projects on SciStarter. Use our project finder to find one that you can participate in!

The great thing about living in a major port city such as Los Angeles is having access to ideas and goods from the around the world. However, the port of LA, and by extension every trade conduit branching off from there, takes the chance on cargo containers carrying an invasive species. In 2003 one such species, the polyphagus shothole borer (PSHB), was spotted in Whittier, a suburb of Los Angeles. In the intervening decade it has quickly spread to many of the trees in southern California.

 Beetle entrance with fungal damage (UC-Riverside, Reproduced with permission)

Beetle entrance with fungal damage (UC-Riverside, Reproduced with permission)

The beetles themselves are small, only a few millimeters long, but they carry fungal spores with them which quickly magnifies the impact of their burrowing. Some trees, for reasons not yet known, are more susceptible to the effects of the burrowing and associated fungal infections. These trees, such as coast live oak and avocado, will play host to  beetle infestations and eventually die as the beetles go on to infect the surrounding trees.

Our best guess is that these beetles originated in southeast Asia, and arrived on lumber shipments through the port of Los Angeles. Beyond that there are a number of outstanding questions: What kept them in check in their native environment? What environmental triggers are behind their spread? Why are some tree species immune to their spread? In the meantime their spread is beginning to threaten both the economy, through the infection of avocado trees, as well as ecology, through the devastation of native box elder populations.

What can be done? Given the scope and speed of the problem a lot of basic data is needed relatively quickly. Even photographing infected trees, then tagging the images with the time and location of the siting, can build a picture of what factors may be involved in the spread of PSHB. Combined with data on tree types and local weather records, this information can address deeper scientific questions, such as: What temperature and humidity range do the beetles prefer? Are they more likely to spread along local wind currents or road networks? Are some trees better hosts to their spread than others?

To collect this data we have started the SCARAB (Scientific Collaboration for Accessible Research About Borers) project. Using the iNaturalist mobile app anyone can help map the spread of these infestations so we can better understand how to manage them.

To help with this project please take the following steps:

  1. Set up an account with iNaturalist online, then join the SCARAB project.
  2. Download the iNaturalist app onto your phone. It currently works for Android and iOS.
  3. Look for infected trees. Spotting their presence is relatively straightforward as the fungal infections they carry form dark stains across the tree bark near boreholes of about a millimeter in diameter (The above photo, with a ballpoint pen near the borehole, gives some scale to this).
  4. Take a photo of the infected tree, as well as a closeup shot of a borehole near a fungal stain. For the closeup shot please include a ruler or pen near the borehole to give a sense of scale.
  5. Tag the image with the collection data and GPS location.
  6. If possible, please record the type of tree infected.

Each individual may not need to take that many photos, but taken together this data may be able to help save a number of our local trees.


Ariel Simons has a background in experimental physics and high school science education.  He is currently involved in a number of citizen science projects, mostly involving ecology, as well as mentoring teachers and students in how to carry out their own research. You can contact him at levisimons@gmail.com or reach him on twitter @levisimons

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Celebrating the Next Generation of Bird Watchers [Guest Post]http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/celebrating-next-generation-bird-watchers-guest-post/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/celebrating-next-generation-bird-watchers-guest-post/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 14:37:35 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10811 This guest post by Sharman Apt Russel describes a citizen science experience with the children in her daughter’s third-grade classroom. the project, Celebrate Urban Birds was one of our Top 14 Projects of 2014. Check out the rest of the projects on that list here. Celebrate Urban Birds is also one of more than 800 citizen […]

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This guest post by Sharman Apt Russel describes a citizen science experience with the children in her daughter’s third-grade classroom. the project, Celebrate Urban Birds was one of our Top 14 Projects of 2014. Check out the rest of the projects on that list here. Celebrate Urban Birds is also one of more than 800 citizen science projects on SciStarter. Use our project finder to find one that fits your interests!

Mourning Dove DSC_4427 copy

The Mourning Dove, a common rural and urban bird perched upon a rock (Image Credit: Elroy Limmer, used with permission)

Public school teachers have always been my heroes. When I first began to research and write about citizen science, I was particularly interested in easy-to-do, inexpensive, age-appropriate, classroom-friendly projects that I could take to teachers like my own daughter Maria—then in her second year in a third-grade classroom in the small border town of Deming, New Mexico. Unsurprisingly, one of the best programs I found—Celebrate Urban Birds–was also recently named by SciStarter as one of the best citizen science projects of 2014.

Designed and managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Celebrate Urban Birds asks children and adults to choose an urban, suburban, or even rural area half the size of a basketball court and watch bird activity for ten minutes. Any observations of sixteen designated species are recorded on a data form. For Maria’s class of twenty-four, Cornell Lab promptly sent twenty-four kits written in English and Spanish–instructions, forms, colored posters to help us identify the birds, packets of flower seeds to plant, and stickers that said “Zero Means a Lot!” The “Zero Means a Lot!” theme was repeated a number of times. “Send us your observations,” the Lab enthused, “EVEN IF YOU SEE NO BIRDS in your bird-watching area. Zero means a lot!”

On that warm spring morning, we headed out with a gaggle of children to the school playground where we faced a row of planted conifers and deciduous trees, the school fence just behind the trees, a street and residential houses just behind the fence. The mostly eight-year-olds divided into three groups of eight, each with a supervising adult, each with their own area to watch. This didn’t last long, of course, with a few small boys first running back and forth under the trees, and then entire groups dissolving and mixing.

Wonderfully iconic– a kind of miracle–an American robin posed on a branch and puffed out its red breast. That was one of the birds on our list of sixteen species! A rock pigeon swooped through the bare yard behind us. Rock pigeons were on our list, too! We could hear mourning doves call from a nearby telephone pole. A third bird on our list! Next, a child spotted a house sparrow lying dead on the other side of the fence, and this attracted far more attention than the live house sparrows in the nearby tree. Our fourth species.

The American Robin, a beautiful sight commonly found in urban areas and one of the birds that the group spotted during the project (Image Credit: NASA)

The American Robin, a beautiful sight commonly found in urban areas and one of the birds that the group spotted during the project (Image Credit: NASA)

For ten minutes, we exclaimed and watched and checked our list, looking for American crows, American robins, Baltimore orioles, barn swallows, black-crowned night herons, brown-headed cowbirds, Bullock’s orioles, cedar waxwings, European starlings, house finches, house sparrows, killdeer, mallards, mourning doves, peregrine falcons, and rock pigeons. One child believed emphatically that he saw a peregrine falcon swoop through the blue sky and another a Baltimore oriole colored red and yellow. Their teacher Maria said, “No, probably not,” but when the children insisted, she only smiled—“Okay, then, check the box that says ‘unsure.’” Some children remembered birds they had seen before, the mallard at the El Paso zoo with a broken leg and the mean parrot kept by their grandmother. Birds and memories of birds seemed to fill the air.

For ten minutes, we watched and then came inside and concentrated on filling out a form that included a description of the site and our observations, carefully copying what Maria wrote on the chalkboard. I realized that this last activity—learning how to record data–was as useful to these children as anything else we had done today.

My daughter and I were immeasurably pleased and planned how to do the next Celebrate Urban Birds even better. Perhaps we would do one of the associated art projects that the program suggests. We would have graphs and word problems. We would hand out more information about other common species in town–grackles and Western kingbirds. Eventually these children would say, “I learned how to bird-watch in the third grade.” Or, “I became passionate about birds in the third grade.” Or, “My teacher’s mother came into my third-grade class and revealed the world to be a web of miracles and connection, and I have never been the same since.”

At this point, I knew I was getting ahead of myself a little.

In today’s schools of scripted curriculums and constant test-taking, teachers like my daughter often have very little time in which to teach science. My daughter only had a half hour a week. A half hour. Celebrate Urban Birds was a creative, fun, educational use of that time. Moreover, like citizen scientists everywhere, these third graders had just become part of something larger than themselves. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology estimates that they work with some two hundred thousand volunteers, tracking and monitoring birds, with over a million observations reported each month on the Lab’s online checklist. These observations help produce real science, contributing to over sixty scientific papers as well as policy decisions designed to protect birds and their habitat.

The next year, my daughter and I did a repeat of Celebrate Urban Birds, and this time we had to use the stickers “Zero Means a Lot!” But that was a good learning experience, too. Surprisingly, the children did not seem particularly discouraged. They only asked if they could look for birds again tomorrow.

 


 

Sharman Russel SciStarterSharman Apt Russell lives in rural southwestern New Mexico and teaches writing at Western New Mexico University in Silver City and at the low-residency MFA program in Antioch University in Los Angeles. She’s engaged in a number of citizen science projects, including monitoring archeology sites and inventorying possible new wilderness areas in the Gila National Forest. Her new book Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World (Oregon State University Press, 2014) was selected by The Guardian (UK) as one of the top ten nature books in 2014.

 

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SciStarter’s Top Fourteen Citizen Science Projects of 2014!http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/scistarters-top-fourteen-citizen-science-projects-2014/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2015/01/scistarters-top-fourteen-citizen-science-projects-2014/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:00:10 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10773 As we ring in the New Year, we’re celebrating the 14 Top Projects of 2014! These are the projects that received the most visits on the SciStarter website. Resolve to do more citizen science in 2015! We’ll help you with that goal. Happy New Year! Photo: Mike Hankey 1.  American Meteor Society – Meteor Observing Report meteors […]

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As we ring in the New Year, we’re celebrating the 14 Top Projects of 2014! These are the projects that received the most visits on the SciStarter website. Resolve to do more citizen science in 2015!
We’ll help you with that goal. Happy New Year!

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Photo: Mike Hankey
1.  American Meteor Society – Meteor Observing
Report meteors and meteor showers online or with an easy smartphone app and help scientists determine their astronomical origins. Get started!

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Photo: NASA
2.  Perfect Pitch Test
If you have perfect pitch, this project needs you! Just take a brief survey and a quick pitch-naming test to help determine if perfect pitch differs for different timbres. Get started!

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Photo: NOAA
3.  Digital Fishers
Only have a minute to spare? Use it to analyze short video clips of amazing deep sea life. Get started!

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Photo: EyeWire
4.  EyeWire
With EyeWire, you can play a captivating image-mapping game that helps maps the retina’s neural connections. Get started!

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Photo: LLNL
5.  American Gut
Our guts contain trillions of microbes. Sample and identify the organisms in your gut with this cool project. Get started!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Photo: Dennis Ward, Project BudBurst
6.  Project BudBurst
Do you enjoy following the trees and plants in your yard as they leaf out, flower, and produce fruit? Record your observations and submit them to BudBurst. Get started!

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Photo: NASA
7.  Loss of the Night
Stargazers take note- Identify and report all the stars you see at night in order to measure light pollution. Get started!

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Photo: NASA
8.  SatCam
Use your smartphone to record sky and ground conditions near you, and SatCam will send you satellite images for the same area. Get started!

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Photo: NPS

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Photo: Victor Loewen
10.  Celebrate Urban Birds
Observe the birds outside your window and report the presence of 16 common species. How many will yousee? Get started!

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Photo: DDQ
11.  Dark Sky Meter 
Use your phone to measure the brightness of the night sky and contribute to a live map of global light pollution. Get started!

1312.  World Water Monitoring Challenge
Curious about your local water quality?  This project provides a simple kit for you to test water temperature, pH, and more. Get started!

1413.  Ignore That!
Help scientists study the human mind by playing a 5-minute game that determines how distractable you really are. Get started!

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Photo: NASA
14.  GLOBE at Night
This is a great project for children and adults who enjoy looking up at the night sky and want to track light pollution. Get started!

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12 Days of Christmas: Citizen Science Edition!http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/12/12-days-christmas-citizen-science-edition/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/12/12-days-christmas-citizen-science-edition/#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:51:36 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10747 Photo: John Ohab 12 Days of Christmas We’re back with our annual list of 12 merry projects! Cheers to you for all you do for science! 2015 is already shaping up to be the Year of the Citizen Scientist. Hold onto your (santa) hats! Credit:  DOI 1st Day of Christmas, the American Chestnut Foundation gave […]

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santa
Photo: John Ohab
12 Days of Christmas
We’re back with our annual list of 12 merry projects!
Cheers to you for all you do for science!
2015 is already shaping up to be the Year of the Citizen Scientist. Hold onto your (santa) hats!

1 -chestnut count
Credit:  DOI
1st Day of Christmas, the American Chestnut Foundation gave to me:
A partridge in a chestnut tree. Leaf and twig sampling helps identify and map chestnut trees throughout the eastern United States. Get started!

2-audubon2nd day of Christmas, Audubon gave to me:
Two turtle doves spotted during the Christmas Bird Count, the world’s longest running citizen science project, which takes place now through January 5. Get started!

3-crab3rd day of Christmas, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center gave to me:
Three Chinese mitten hens (female crabs) on the east coast. Mitten Crab Watch needs our help to determine the current distribution status of the mitten crab. Get started!

4-canid howls
Mark Dumont (CC BY 2.0)
4th day of Christmas, University of TN gave to me: 
Four or more calling dogs, wolves and other canids! Listen and analyze the canid howls and investigate the role of these sounds. Get started!

5-precipitation
Credit:  DHS
5th day of Christmas, Precipitation ID Near the Ground gave to me: 
Five gold PINGs! This winter, you can track snow, rain, and hail near you for the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Get started!

6-seabird6th day of Christmas, Seattle Audubon Society gave to me: 
A chance to help seabird researchers create a snapshot of geese density on more than three square miles of near-shore saltwater habitat. Get started!

7-myswan7th day of Christmas, the University of Melbourne gave to me:
The MySwan project to report sightings of tagged black swans around the world. After you submit your sighting, you’ll get an instant report about the swan, with information about its history and recent movements. Get started!

8-galaxy8th day of Christmas, Zooniverse gave to me: 
The Milky Way Project, a chance to help scientists study our galaxy, as well as the Milky Way advent calendar and even Milky Way tree ornaments! Get started!

9-mercurri9th day of Christmas, Science Cheerleaders gave to me: 

10-frog
Credit:  USGS
10th day of Christmas, the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program gave to me:
10 frogs-a-leaping as citizen scientists monitor their populations across the continent. Get started!

11-singscience
Credit: NIH
11th day of Christmas, the University of Washington gave to me:
SingAboutScience, a searchable database where you can find content-rich songs on specific scientific and mathematical topics. These singers sure have pipes! Get started!

12-grouse12th day of Christmas, NY Department of Environmental Conservation gave to me:
The Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey to help hunters survey populations of ruffed grouse in breeding season. Get started!

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Citizen Science, Happening Now at a Museum or Science Center Near You!http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/12/citizen-science-happening-now-museum-science-center-near/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/12/citizen-science-happening-now-museum-science-center-near/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 22:24:38 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10717 Participants deliberating about NASA’s Asteroid Initiative at the Museum of Science on November 15, 2014. Photo by David Rabkin, Museum of Science. Science Centers are turning to citizen science to engage onsite and virtual visitors to help advance research!   Our editors have featured five such projects you can take part in below.   A […]

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Participants deliberating about NASA’s Asteroid Initiative at the Museum of Science on November 15, 2014. Photo by David Rabkin, Museum of Science.
Science Centers are turning to citizen science to engage onsite and virtual visitors to help advance research!

 

Our editors have featured five such projects you can take part in below.

 

A related series of guests blog posts, written by the folks running theses citizen science projects at science centers, will be featured on the SciStarter blog network: SciStarter, Public Library of Science and Discover Magazine.

 

In the first post, David Sittenfeld, from the Museum of Science, Boston, describes the range and depth of programs offered to citizen scientists ay science centers.

 

inaturalist-scistarter
Credit: FWS
iNaturalist
Download this free app to record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world. iNaturalist is a technology partner of the California Academy of Science.

nest-watch-scistarter
Credit: FWS
Smithsonian’s Neighborhood Nestwatch

Team up with scientists to find and monitor bird nests and to record and report their observations. Participants can help capture, measure, and band backyard birds. Get Started!

firefly-watch-scistarter
Credit: Museum of Science
Firefly Watch
The Museum of Science, Boston has teamed up with researchers from Tufts University and Fitchburg State College to track the fate of fireflies. With your help, they hope to learn about the geographic distribution of these amazing insects and their activities. Get Started! Read related blog post.

frogFrogWatch USA
FrogWatch is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In local chapters, volunteers learn to identify local frog and toad species by their calls during the breeding season and how to report their findings accurately. Get Started!
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genetics of taste
Credit: DMNS
Genetics of Taste Lab
The Genetics of Taste Lab at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is home to a citizen science project to examine the possibility that there are more than just the five known tastes. Help determine if fatty acids are the 6th taste! Get Started!


 

Thank you to everyone who supported our campaign to expand citizen science journalism! We did it, thanks to you!

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Project MERCCURI featured on NASA’s weekly updatehttp://scistarter.com/blog/2014/12/project-merccuri-featured-nasas-weekly-update/ http://scistarter.com/blog/2014/12/project-merccuri-featured-nasas-weekly-update/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 13:54:15 +0000 http://scistarter.com/blog/?p=10713 What do Buzz Aldrin’s shoe, the Liberty Bell & sports arenas all have in common? Watch Space to Ground, your weekly update on what’s happening aboard the International Space Station. SciStarter’s Project MERCCURI, a research project to compare microbes on Earth and in space (presented by the Eisen Lab and UC Davis, SciStarter and Science […]

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What do Buzz Aldrin’s shoe, the Liberty Bell & sports arenas all have in common? Watch Space to Ground, your weekly update on what’s happening aboard the International Space Station.

SciStarter’s Project MERCCURI, a research project to compare microbes on Earth and in space (presented by the Eisen Lab and UC Davis, SciStarter and Science Cheerleader, with support from the Sloan Foundation, Space Florida and NanoRacks), was featured on NASA’s “Space to Ground,” a weekly update on what’s happening aboard the International Space Station. Click here to read more about the status of this project!

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