Spring into Citizen Science Day tomorrow! Hundreds of springtime opportunities await you

By Eva Lewandowski | April 13, 2017 1:27 pm
Springtime Citizen Science
Photo: USFWS

Photo: USFWS

April is buzzing with citizen science you can do at hackfests, conferences, festivals, workshops, marches and more! Looking for family-friendly projects? Check this out.  Below, we’ve selected three projects and two events we think you’ll love.  You can find more projects and events on SciStarter to do now or bookmark for later.  Bonus: Complete your SciStarter profile this month and we’ll send you a free pdf of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: Bumble Boosters
Queen Quest
Help track the phenology of bumble bees by finding and photographing queen bees. By uploading your photo, along with information on location and bee behavior, you can increase understanding these important pollinators.
Location: North America

Photo: Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve
Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey
From May to June each year, you are needed to count spawning Horseshoe Crabs along east coast beaches. Surveys happen at night and are fun to do with a group!
Location: New Jersey & Delaware, USA

Photo: Gregory Brees
Delaware Shorebird Project
Many shorebirds that migrate from South America to Canada each spring stop in Delaware to feast on the eggs of horseshoe crabs. You can help monitor these birds to better inform conservation efforts.
Location: Delaware, USA

City Nature Challenge
Sixteen cities throughout the United States are challenged to get outside and observe wildlife. Find a participating city near you, then document and report your sightings of flowers, ants, mushrooms, and more!
Location: Select locations, United States

March for Science
The March for Science is a non-partisan event for individuals to show their support for science and participate in citizen science at the same time! On April 22, scientists and science supporters will march in Washington DC and in satellite marches across the country.
Location: Select locations, USA

Citizen Science Day runs April 14th- May 20th!  More than 100 events are listed on SciStarter.  From BioBlitzes, to trainings, to hack-a-thons, there’s an event for you.  Find an event on SciStarter.  Crowd and Cloud is now streaming online. This four-part public television series explores citizen science, crowdsourcing, and mobile technology.  Watch now.

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Events

“Stream Selfies” Bridge Information Gap on Stream Health

By Guest | April 12, 2017 2:00 pm

Izaak Walton League Celebrates Citizen Science Month With Project To Document Streams Across America

By Danielle Donkersloot, Izaak Walton League Clean Water Program Director

Every American has the right to know whether the streams running through their backyards and neighborhood parks are safe. But there is an alarming lack of up-to-date information about water quality across the country. The Izaak Walton League’s “Stream Selfie” project will help bridge that information gap.   Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

From the Stars to the Seas: Pairing Citizen Science with NASA Technology for Whale Shark Conservation

By Kristin Butler | April 7, 2017 10:12 am

This post is part of our Divers’ series. We encourage readers to continue the conversation by adding their own comments, question or concerns on our Facebook page. You’ll find links to other posts at the end of this story. 

A whale shark, Earth’s largest fish, feeding among tuna off Utila, Honduras. Photo: Simon Pierce/Wild Me

When Jason Holmberg saw his first whale shark 15 years ago while scuba diving off the coast of Africa, he had no idea it would lead him to co-found a nonprofit that pairs citizen science with NASA technology to collect data on whale sharks around the world.

The photo collecting project, called Wildbook for Whale Sharks, helped put whale sharks on the endangered species list, and the technology it employs is now used to study cheetahs, manta rays, and other species by research institutions across the globe. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Living World

City Nature Challenge 2017: Get started with iNaturalist and SciStarter

By Catherine Hoffman | April 5, 2017 6:19 pm

city nature challengeApril 14-18, 16 cities across the United States will participate in the City Nature Challenge by going outside to document species through the iNaturalist app!  The widely anticipated event, brought to you by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences, also makes it easy for participants to earn credit for their iNaturalist observations through their SciStarter dashboards!

Here’s how:

  1. Download the iNaturalist app and select a username
  2. Add your iNaturalist username to your SciStarter account settings (it’s free and easy to sign up if you don’t have an account)
  3. Find a City Nature Challenge near you and prepare to go wild on April 14!
Are you organizing a City Nature Challenge? You can easily share these instructions for linking iNaturalist and SciStarter accounts with your participants.

Results will be shared on Earth Day, April 22, here. 

Continue to track your contributions to iNaturalist and many other urban citizen science projects through your SciStarter dashboard!

The City Nature Challenge is the kickoff to Citizen Science Day, presented by SciStarter in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association. Find and participate in an event near you between April 14 and May 20.

City Nature Challenge Participating cities include:

San Francisco

Nashville

Boston

New York City

Austin

Houston

Dallas/Fort Worth

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Seattle

Raleigh

Chicago 

Washington D.C.

Salt Lake City

Miami

Duluth

Los Angeles


Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Events

Exploring Human Culture with Citizen Science

By Eva Lewandowski | March 31, 2017 10:15 am
unnamed (1)From art history to archaeology and beyond, citizen scientists are advancing our understanding of humanity, and you can help!  Below, we’ve selected five projects that explore various dimensions of human culture.  You can find more projects on SciStarter to do now or bookmark your favorites for later.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science

Upbeat, collaborative, and focused: Educators at SXSWedu reflect on the value and future of citizen science in education

By Guest | March 29, 2017 9:58 am

Who really benefits from citizen science? How can citizen science support STEM education?  How do we bring citizen science to new audiences? How can we leverage new technologies to expand student participation in citizen science projects?

Attendees explore tools together.

These were some of the questions we set out to discuss at the Citizen Science Meet-up at SXSWedu. SXSWedu is an annual conference that attracts thought-leaders from the worlds of education, technology, policy, and the media. This year, 7,000 participants from 38 countries—including bestselling authors, TED-talking professors, and quirky teachers—came together to discuss the future of teaching and learning. At SciStarter and the California Academy of Sciences, we believe that citizen science is an integral part of that future, so we joined forces to bring our ideas to the participants of SXSWedu.

We designed the Meet-up as an interactive experience with roundtable conversations and resource share-outs. In one corner of the room, participants explored a playground of citizen science projects and toolkits, including tinkering with arthropod observation tools, exploring the biodiversity app iNaturalist, and discovering diverse DIY projects featured on SciStarter. In another corner, at the Citizen Science Platter, the participants shared their insights about the role of citizen science in education today. Here’s what people were saying:

“We are upbeat and enthusiastic about the power of citizen science.” Citizen science is a powerful tool that can be used to tap into the natural curiosity of students and empower students to drive their own learning, both inside and outside the classroom. Moreover, citizen science has a low barrier to entry. “Everyone has a phone,” one attendee said, referring to the proliferation of elegant apps, such as iNaturalist and GLOBE Observer, that democratize participation in the scientific process.

SciStarter and the California Academy of Sciences display citizen science projects and tools at SXSWedu

“We need more collaborative work in the field.” We need best practices to guide collaborations between educators, scientists, and research on learning. For example, scientists can be more transparent about how the data collected by citizen scientists will be used. We also need to continue to develop ways citizen scientists can connect with each other to share experiences, learn from each other, and create a sense of community in citizen science. In addition to using Web apps, we might also ask citizen scientists to create portfolios of their work so that they can showcase their achievements and get feedback from students peers and other citizen scientists. For example, the new SciStarter dashboard is a digital portfolio for people to track, earn credit, and receive recognition for their contributions across projects. There is clearly an opportunity to expand this to serve the needs of classrooms.

“We need design that is more focused on who we are trying to reach.” As advocates for citizen science, we can make educators’ jobs easier by building more scaffolding around our designs. For example, as citizen science practitioners develop projects that are fit for schools, they might consider the limits of space at many schools. An added challenge is determining how citizen science can most effectively enhance STEM learning

The Meet-up created a renewed sense of the excitement about using citizen science as a learning and engagement tool for STEM education. There are many smart, creative, passionate people who are designing and evaluating citizen science experiences both in and out of the classroom. Our power comes from the communities we support, and we encourage program designers to not only collaborate across organizations, but also empower their audiences with additional resources. If you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas:

  1. The California Academy of Sciences Citizen Science Toolkit for Educators provides step by step instructions for integrating citizen science projects into classroom curricula or afterschool programming.
  2. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology BridSleuth program provides connections  between the Next Generation Science Standards and Citizen Science.
  3. To get started on citizen science right away, check out SciStarter’s amazing repository of citizen science projects. Many projects have been rated, reviewed and aligned to standards by educators. You can search for projects that have teaching materials or search by appropriate grade-level. You and your students can set up  personalized dashboard to help track involvement and interest in projects and help you discover personalized recommendations.

Together, we make the commitment to help connect citizen science more closely with  educators, students, and, of course, anyone who wants to contribute to our understanding of the world. The future of citizen science is bright, and we welcome it with open arms.


For more information or to chat further please feel free to reach out!

Katie Levedahl (KLevedahl@calacademy.org)

Katie drives the strategic design, implementation, and wide-scale expansion of science education resources that transform informal science learning. As the Director of Informal learning with the California Academy of Sciences her work includes expansion of offerings to serve thousands of people through the Academy’s youth leadership programs, the founding and scaling of the Science Action Club network, and a lead role with several regional STEM education networks.

Catherine Hoffman (catherine@scistarter.com)

Catherine bring citizen science to new audiences through SciStarter. As the Managing Director of SciStarter she oversees strategic partnerships with formal and informal education groups, coordinates product development within SciStarter, and grows citizen science through festivals and events throughout the country.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Education

Citizen science comes to public television this April

By Catherine Hoffman | March 24, 2017 9:26 am
Photo: The Crowd and the Cloud

Photo: The Crowd and the Cloud

This April, The Crowd & The Cloud brings you a 4-part public television series exploring citizen science, crowdsourcing, and mobile technology. You’ll find the SciStarter Project Finder on The Crowd & The Cloud website to help viewers of the show become do-ers of science!  Below we’ve highlighted each episode and related projects to jump start your viewing!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: The Crowd and The Cloud
Even Big Data Starts Small
The crowd, using mobile tech, and the cloud contribute to science that saves lives. In this episode, you’ll hear stories of everyday people contributing data used for emergency management, researching Alzheimers, mapping oils spills, and more.
 
World Broadcast: April 6th at 9pm EST
(replayed at 9pm PST)

Photo: The Crowd and The Cloud
Citizens + Scientists
Citizen scientists track air pollution in Wyoming, test for lead in Philadelphia’s drinking water, fish for data in coldwater trout streams and report environmental crimes in China, using the “Black & Smelly Rivers” app. Hear all these stories and more in Episode 2.
World Broadcast: April 13th at 9pm EST
(replayed at 9pm PST)

Photo: The Crowd and The Cloud
Viral vs Virus
Real-time data helps track environmental triggers for asthma sufferers and citizens confront air pollution and rising asthma rates by collecting real time data. In this episode, explore how maps and apps can combat globalized disease from asthma to Zika.
World Broadcast: April 20th at 9pm EST
(replayed at 9pm PST)

Photo: The Crowd and The Cloud
Citizens4Earth
This episode explores a Year in the Life of Citizen Science. Counting birds with an app, surfers collecting ocean data while they ride the waves, volunteers surveying horseshoe crabs on the Delaware Bay, and butterflies wintering over in California.
World Broadcast: April 27th at 9pm EST
(replayed at 9pm PST)

CROWD & CLOUD plans live tweeting during both WORLD channel feeds (same day, same time to 70+ leading PBS stations) with a live one hour interactive “hangout” at 10pm ET and 10pm Pacific. Other PBS stations will program their broadcasts asynchronously, and Scistarter will have a station finder on our website. All programs will be streaming on the Crowd and Cloud website, and those of PBS stations, after April 1st.

Endangered Bumble Bee Gets Help From Citizen Scientists

By Eva Lewandowski | March 22, 2017 4:40 pm

The United States Endangered Species Act is often considered to be the most powerful piece of environmental legislation not just in the US, but in the world. As a result, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) formally lists a species as either threatened or endangered, it can be a game-changer for the species in question, protecting and even recovering a plant or animal that would otherwise be headed towards extinction. Such an action usually garners a fair amount of notice among conservation biologists and environmental advocates. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Collaborative Citizen Science for Clean Water Management

By Guest | March 15, 2017 5:46 pm

By Lishka Arata, Conservation Educator at Point Blue

Volunteers collecting a sample from the lake to examine under the microscope. Photo: CMC

Despite the current administration’s efforts to roll back the Clean Water Act and dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, interest and participation is growing in a new EPA- and stakeholder-led citizen science project that aims to inform clean water management.

The Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative has been gathering steam since 2010, when Hilary Snook, EPA Senior Water Quality Scientist, began receiving calls from state water quality agencies with complaints from their constituents about cyanobacteria blooms occurring in their waters.

A collaborative workgroup was formed between New England state water quality scientists and the EPA in an effort to create something that was stakeholder-inclusive and educational for those concerned about and involved in addressing cyanobacteria blooms and the water quality issues that surround them. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment
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