Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) preening. Photo by Donna L. Long.

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.

My book on using the Grinnell Scientific Nature Journal method is available through lulu.com.

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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.

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.
http://edrr.nbii.gov/

Audubon Society Citizen Science Programs
http://www.audubon.org/bird/citizen/index.html

Bat House Project – Bat Conservation International
http://www.batcon.org/home/index.asp?idPage=47

Bird Studies Canada
http://www.bsc-eoc.org/bscmain.html

Bluebird Conservation – Transcontinental Bluebird Trail
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/tbt.htm

Butterfly Counts
http://www.naba.org/counts.html

Catus Moth Detection and Monitoring Network
http://www.gri.msstate.edu/research/cmdmn/

Christmas Bird Counts – Audubon
http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/

CitSci.org – an invasive species mapping program collecting observations in a global database.
http://www.citsci.org/

eBird – Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon society
http://ebird.org/content/ebird/about/whatisebird.html

Frogwatch Programs – National Wildlife Federation and USGeological Survey
http://www.nwf.org/frogwatchUSA/

Great Backyard Bird Count
http://www.audubon.org/gbbc/index.shtml

Hawaii Early Detection Network
http://pbin.nbii.org/reportapest/

Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth
http://www.gri.msstate.edu/research/ipams/ipams.php

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/

Journey North – animal migrations
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/

Lost Ladybug Project
http://www.lostladybug.org/

Nature Watch Programs – Canada
FrogWatch, IceWatch, PlantWatch and WormWatch Programs
http://www.naturewatch.ca/english/

North American Bird Banding Program – Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/

North American Breeder Bird Survey – Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/participate/

Plant Watch – Canada
http://www.naturewatch.ca/english/plantwatch/

Project BudBurst – careful observations of the phenophases of a diversity of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses in their local area.
http://www.windows.ucar.edu/citizen_science/budburst/

Project Feeder Watch – Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Canada
http://www.bsc-eoc.org/national/pfw.html

Project Feeder Watch – Cornell Lab of Ornithology – United States
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/

Texas Invasives
http://www.texasinvasives.org/

USA National Phenology Network
http://www.usanpn.org/

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