Citizen Science Opportunities Abound - Eva Varga

January 28, 20142

What is citizen science?  I’ve never heard of it before. 

I don’t have a degree in science.  I couldn’t possibly contribute anything of worth.

It’s probably too expensive.

How do I get involved?

citizen scienceThese are just a few of the questions or comments I hear as I share with other homeschool families about our experiences with citizen science.  Citizen science is nothing new.  The National Audubon Society began annual Christmas Bird Counts in 1900 – engaging people across the country in identifying and cataloging native birds.

Now, using the power of the internet, citizen science projects and service learning opportunities are exploding. Citizen science is the collaborative effort of volunteers and professional scientists working together to collect and/or analyze data.  Citizen scientists are individuals in all walks of life – regardless of age, level of education, or socio-economic class.

Watch this informative Oregon Field Guide video segment from episode #2402.

You do not need to have an advanced degree in science to guide your children or students in productive participation in citizen science projects. Citizen science falls into many categories – astronomy, biology, ecology, entomology, environmental science, and water quality.

There are many benefits to incorporating citizen science into your curriculum.  Involvement in citizen science projects enables students to make connections with relevant, meaningful, and real experiences with science.  In turn, their experiences help facilitate their own investigations as they gain confidence.

Our Citizen Science Project Reports

We’ve had the opportunity to take part in a variety of citizen science projects over the years.  I share some of our past experiences here:

Hunting the Lost Ladybug

Malama Honokowai – Weed Warriors

Rainforest Caterpillars

School of Ants

Water Quality Monitoring

More Citizen Science Opportunities

Earthwatch Expeditions – Opportunities to volunteer all over the world

Great Backyard Bird Count

Journey North Citizen Science Projects (including Tulip Test GardensMonarch Butterflies, and Bald Eagles).

National Phenology Network

World Water Monitoring Challenge




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