Do you have enjoy observing nature and have 15 minutes to spare? If so, you can be a citizen scientist. Over the past few years, citizen science has really taken off, allowing ordinary people to help scientists and organizations track the count and behaviors of birds, butterflies, bats, bees, wildflowers, weather and celestial phenomena, and much more. After all, researchers can’t be everywhere, and many of us have habitats in our backyards and neighborhoods that can help others gain important information about nature.
And, if that isn’t enough, citizen science makes a fun family or classroom activity, getting naturalists of all ages and abilities outdoors together and providing them with something to do and a way to feel helpful and a part of the Earth’s larger ecosystem. Don’t let the name intimidate you. All you need to participate in citizen science is the desire to observe nature to the best of your ability for a period of time and record what you see.
There are multiple projects to engage citizen scientists, year-round and covering multiple interests. Cornell’s Project Feeder Watch starts November 10 and runs through early April.
These are just a few of the other wonderful citizen science projects that can use your help:
Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Great Sunflower Project
Acoustic Bat Monitoring
NOAA Weather Observer Program
National Wildlife Federation‘s Wildlife Watch
NASA Meteor Count
Hummingbird Migration Map
You might also enjoy:
Photos: Owl Butterfly, Susan Sachs Lipman; European Starling and Northern Flicker, Pam Koch; Bee on Sunflower, Susan Sachs Lipman