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Help Quito, Ecuador

Can you lend your expertise to assist the City of Quito, Ecuador to prepare for the likely eruption of the Cotopaxi Volcano situated 30 miles from Quito?

Cotopaxi is currently spewing ash. The last large-scale eruption was in 1877, and it is believed that another one is now inevitable. If it erupts, some communities will have less than half an hour to evacuate.

The scale of the challenge is overwhelming. Yet there are those of you out there with good ideas for how to mitigate the risks, especially using technology and innovation, or those of you who know others who have relevant experience, skills, and know how.

We want to ask you to participate in one or more of a series of online coaching sessions to help the city get smarter about how to prepare. Please, we need your help.

The goal of these online sessions is to:

Better define and understand the nature of the problem
Help connect those people with relevant experience and know how to city officials to help Quito better manage the impending disaster
Identify innovative and practical ways, especially using new technology, to tackle the challenge at hand
Result in at least 2-3 implementable ways per topic of doing things differently that could potentially save lives, save resources, and allow for money to be spent on what matters most.


Each session will run online from 11 am EST for 1.5 hours on a Monday or Thursday (see calendar below)
Each session will be attended by those city officials with responsibility for that topic, who will share background information about the current state of readiness.
Each session will be moderated by an expert in the field.
Each session will be staffed by volunteers who will take notes and follow up the session to develop good ideas into more concrete and actionable proposals backed up by research.

Monarch SOS

Monarch SOS is a field guide created by Naturedigger, LLC in cooperation with the Monarch Joint Venture. It is the first monarch app developed by scientists which covers monarch identification in all life cycle stages, confusing look-alikes and numerous milkweed species (monarch's larval host plants), frequently encountered in North America.

This guide is great for everyone, but ideally should be used as a companion app for citizen scientists participating in monarch population and migration data collection programs. Veterans of monarch research and conservation of over twenty years have contributed their expertise and input to Monarch SOS to make it a useful tool for volunteers assisting in monarch conservation. With guidance from the Monarch Joint Venture and their citizen science partners, Monarch SOS will be a great tool for enhancing these programs and thus, the understanding of monarch butterflies through citizen science.

NASA's SMAP Satellite Mission

NASA recently launched the SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite which is orbiting the globe every three days to measure soil moisture levels. This data will be used to improve weather forecasts, detail water/energy/carbon cycles, monitor droughts, predict floods, and assist crop productivity.

How accurate is the big data from the satellite? There's only one way to find out and it depends on you to report local data! SciStarter's citizen science community has been called on to help calibrate the accuracy of NASA's satellite mission and to learn more about your soil quality in the process.

Participants from every state will collect and analyze soil samples from September through June.
In this project, you will:

-register your location(s)
-receive alerts when the SMAP satellite is scheduled to fly over you
-scoop a handful of soil, a few times a month (when the satellite is flying over), weigh it, dry it for a day or two, and weigh it again. After some simple conversions, you'll send the data to NASA and be able to compare it to what NASA's SMAP satellite is reporting.

Sign up as an individual or team. One team in each state will receive equipment from NASA needed for this project including a heat lamp and graduated cylinder. SciStarter will sell and loan full kits including a heat lamp, graduated cylinder, and balance. A complete list of materials is available on the sign up form, here: .


nQuire-it is a platform to join, create, and share citizen science missions with people around the world. There are three kinds of missions: Spot-it allows people to spot and share things around us; Sense-it links to the Android Sense-it app (available on Google Play) to capture data from any mobile device sensor; Win-it missions set science challenges.

Secchi App

Join seafarers in the global scientific experiment to study marine phytoplankton.

The phytoplankton underpin the marine food chain, so we need to know as much about them as possible. To participate in this project, you'll need to create a Secchi Disk, a tool that measures water turbidity, and use the free iPhone or Android ‘Secchi’ application.

You can take a Secchi Disk reading as often as you wish, every day, once a week, twice a month, or just occasionally. The data you collect will help scientists around the world to understand the phytoplankton.

Join in and help make this the world’s largest public marine biological study.

Redwood Watch

Redwood Watch needs volunteers to take photographs of redwood trees and other redwood forest plants and animals and submit them to researchers. Your data will help Save the Redwoods League better understand species distribution within the redwood range.

We do not yet know how climate change will impact the redwood forest in the coming decades, but when we know where redwood forests and their inhabitants do well today, we will be better able to predict where the redwood forests of tomorrow will thrive!

As you walk through the forest, Redwood Watch encourages you to submit observations of plants and animals that live in the redwood forest. Snap a picture and submit it online using the iNaturalist app and the selecting the Redwood Watch project.

The project is a partnership between the Save the Redwoods League, iNaturalist, Google Earth Outreach, and the California Academy of Sciences.

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