Have you ever wondered how you can get involved in your community and contribute to science? Believe it or not, you can with something called citizen science.
Citizen science doesn’t require years of research in the field of STEM, or even a degree from an accredited university. According to National Geographic, citizen science is defined as “the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge.” (National Geographic, 2021) With your findings, scientists can use this information to drive research forward. How cool does that sound?
For most of these science projects, all you need is a device with an internet connection and you will be ready to begin. Here are some projects that stood out to me based on my research:
Take photos of plants to send to researchers
Do you have a love for the environment? If so, Budburst is an app that can help scientists and researchers gauge the effects of climate change on the plants in your area. All you need is a phone to take photos of local plants.
Help scientists decipher galactic shapes
Do you have a love for stargazing? I know I do! Galaxy Zoo needs your help classifying certain shapes and sizes from different faraway galaxies. Your input helps them decipher and categorize these galactic figures. You can even participate in discussion boards with other volunteers and scientists.
Run a program in your area and track climate change’s effects
If you have a love for leadership and environmentalism, Natures Notebook is the perfect program. You can even lead and start a phenology program in your local area with Nature’s Notebook. This program also focuses on the effects of climate change on the biodiversity in your community.
Collect rain, hail, and snow measurements in your area
If you are a weather enthusiast or hope to someday become a meteorologist, this Citizen Science Project is a great program.
Participate in a multitude of citizen science projects using this app
Whether you are a lover of animals, space, or the environment, Zooniverse has it all. It leverages on volunteer feedback for findings. Check out all the different project tabs to participate in. There is also a discussion board on here as well where you can talk to researchers and volunteers alike.
Take pictures of the clouds to send to researchers
Are you an fan of taking sunset pictures? If so, this is the program for you. By joining the app, you can provide information that is beneficial to even big scientific agencies like NASA. Your photos will be used to compare to that of the satellites taken in space. How awesome is that?
Observe and collect data the monarch population
Monarch and Larva Monitoring Project
Do you have a lot of monarchs in your local area? By collecting data and surveying these monarchs, you can help scientists decipher migration patterns and the overall impact of these monarchs.
Help NASA create a map of the ocean floor
NEMO – NET
The coral reefs are so essential to this planet, however these reefs are dying at an astounding rate. By using amazing 3D technology, you can help identify where the coral reefs are located. This then logs that information to be sent to NASA scientists.
Help target near-earth objects
Target NEO Observing Program
Calling all future astronomers! This is the perfect app for you. This project does require a bit more of an investment, as you will need a telescope to participate in it.
Report landslides in your local area and send to NASA scientists
Landslides at NASA
Reporting landslides in your area can help advance science by predicting where future landslides will occur. If you are a geological enthusiast or live in a mountainous or rainy area, this project may work best for you.
Citizen science is an amazing way to get involved in the science community. If you have participated in any citizen projects before, let me know! If you are interested in training like an astronaut, check out some of my tips here. If you are interested in doing your own scientific project, check out my outline here.
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