Citizen Science and Nature Journal Keeping are a Natural Partnership
Citizen Science Projects cover a range of nature activities and nature journal interests. Here are examples of the citizen science projects that further scientific understanding of the natural world.
Scientists at organizations, research facilities, and government agencies use the data collected by amateur observers to help with scientific studies. This is called “Citizen Science”.
Just as scientists now use Henry David Thoreau’s journals to help track climate change, our nature journals can provide valuable environmental information to scientists.
If you like keeping a scientific style nature journal, this type of project can inspire your nature study. Many of these projects involve phenology. Phenology is observing the relationship between climate and the life cycles of plants and animals.
We can keep track of observations and record them in our journals or on datasheets. From there we can upload the data into the online project databases.
These are nature activities that the whole family can participate in. Children will need to work with an adult, but the kids will be doing actual science, not just reading about it.
Regional nature organizations often sponsor other programs such as ladybug, nest watch, plant monitoring, and other projects. Check with your local nature organizations for information.
The list below is just a sampling of the projects where you can contribute.
Nature Activities for Kids and Other Beginners
Projects You Can Participate In
The National BiologicalInformation Infrastructure is a program that provides access to data and information to Citizen science projects across theUS and continent.
Audubon Society Citizen Science Programs
Bat House Project – Bat Conservation International
Bird Studies Canada
Bluebird Conservation – Transcontinental Bluebird Trail
Catus Moth Detection and Monitoring Network
Christmas Bird Counts – Audubon
CitSci.org – an invasive species mapping program collecting observations in a global database.
eBird – Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon society
Frogwatch Programs – National Wildlife Federation and USGeological Survey
Great Backyard Bird Count
Hawaii Early Detection Network
Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
Journey North – animal migrations
Lost Ladybug Project
Nature Watch Programs – Canada
FrogWatch, IceWatch, PlantWatch and WormWatch Programs
North American Bird Banding Program – Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
North American Breeder Bird Survey – Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Plant Watch – Canada
Project BudBurst – careful observations of the phenophases of a diversity of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses in their local area.
Project Feeder Watch – Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Canada
Project Feeder Watch – Cornell Lab of Ornithology – United States
USA National Phenology Network