Hundreds and thousands of kids and adults are helping to solve the mysteries of the Earth and beyond. They are known as citizen scientists. Science is our most reliable system of gaining new knowledge and citizen science is the public involvement in inquiry and discovery of new scientific knowledge. A citizen science project can involve one person or millions of people collaborating towards a common goal.
Amateurs have been making scientific discoveries for years. For example, in 1900, the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count Society organized citizens to help gather data. It is the longest-running citizen scientist group in the world.
The data collected by observers over the past century allow Audubon researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.
Technology such as the internet, GPS, smart-devices and apps have made it easier for everyone to join in the hunt for knowledge. It is a win-win situation when citizen scientists learn to notice and contribute to science and the world around them. One way to get started is by joining SciStarter.
SciStarter is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through recreational activities and citizen science research projects.
There are currently 5 featured projects available on SciStarter, one of the featured projects is BudBurst.
Become part of Project BudBurst’s national data collection effort. Register your class and start participating in Project BudBurst!
GOAL: Help scientists understand changing climates in your area.
TASK: Make regular observations of your plants and submit data.
Join the Project BudBurst community at http://budburst.org/getstarted
Find teaching materials for Project BudBurst here.
Once you have joined SciStarter, you have the ability to select your own activity or topic from a drop down list.
Goal: Help study reproductive health of wild turkeys.
Task: Count young turkeys in New York State.
Partner with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to monitor turkeys in the wild. The DEC seeks wildlife lovers in every county to help them observe and count young male and female turkeys (also known as Jakes and Jennies) in August. This survey sheds light on the interaction between weather, environment and flock vitality. It also helps determine fall hunting potential. A survey form with detailed instructions is available here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48732.html. Use the form to record the number of wild turkeys you see in New York State in August.
Make a contribution to science and become a “Citizen Scientist” today!