Citizen Science Projects

Spend the summer contributing data, research for various efforts

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Ever wonder how to cultivate your child’s love of science in a way that you both can enjoy? Citizen scientist programs provide the perfect opportunity for your little ones -- and you – to advance those science skills while making a difference in the community.

Citizen scientists are everyday members of the public who collect and sometimes even analyze data from the world around them, most commonly as part of collaborative projects guided by legit scientists.

Here are a few citizen science projects taking place across the country that you can help with this summer:

Counting Pollinators

Since 2008, The Great Sunflower Project has been collecting data on pollinators to learn more about their numbers and where they need help.

The project includes more than 100,000 members across the country who collect data on pollinators in their yards, gardens schools and parks. Join them in taking counts of the number and types of pollinators visiting plants at or near your own home. These observations will help determine where pollinator service is strong or weak compared to national averages.

This citizen science effort also offers additional opportunities to get involved —by planting the Lemon Queen variety of sunflower and identifying the effects of pesticides on pollinators, for example. You can even take the “Great Pollinator Habitat Challenge,” where you will learn how to evaluate and improve habitats for pollinators.

Read more about The Great Sunflower Project here.

Celebrating Birds

Founded in 2007, Celebrate Urban Birds is a year-round project developed by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Its goals are to reach diverse urban audiences who do not already participate in scientific investigation and to collect high-quality data that helps us understand how different environments influence the location of birds in urban areas.

Join the movement and explore the great outdoors as you identify various birds and learn more about their adaptations. Then, send your data in to the citizen science effort to help our feathered friends on a much broader scale.

Read more about Celebrate Urban Birds here.

Natural North Carolina

Visit (and download their app for easy, on-the-go access) to get involved with the Natural North Carolina project. Scientists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciencestists are working, with the help of citizen scientists across the state, to document all of the plant and animal species in the state.

By photographing and reporting the wildlife you see in your everyday life, you’ll be helping everyone learn more about the species that call North Carolina home. This work will also help create an atlas of the state’s flora and fauna that others can then use to identify what they see in their local areas.

Read more about the Natural North Carolina project here.

Citizen Science is for Everyone

Citizen science activities help children learn about community, collaboration and contributing to a greater good. And whether it is animals, plants or food that they love, there’s guaranteed to be a citizen science project out there for your kids to enjoy. Now that’s fun you can feel good about!


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