Citizen Science and Nature Journal Keeping

Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) preening.
Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) preening.

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

Butterfly Counts

Catus Moth Detection and Monitoring Network

Christmas Bird Counts – Audubon – 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

Texas Invasives

USA National Phenology Network

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