Citizen Science: Opportunities for Public Participation in Science

Are you a citizen scientist? If not, find out how you can collect meaningful data for your area, province, Canada or the whole world. In the process you will gain a new understanding of how scientific data are collected and analyzed. You may communicate with fellow citizen scientists, expand your horizons, learn new things and have fun. Some studies help determine distribution and abundance of native and introduced organisms as well as climate change. Others work to improve local environments.

Here are several opportunities for kids, teens and adults to contribute to science through observations in their local communities. Most studies involve public volunteers making observations and reporting them, usually by computer, to a central location.

Alberta Mycological Society - Help determine what mushrooms and other fungi occur in your area.

Alberta Native Plant Council (ANPC) - Promotes knowledge and conservation of the native plants of Alberta

Alberta Plant Watch - Help track spring blooming times.

Alberta Water Quality Awarness(AWQA) - Collect water samples from your local streams, rivers and lakes.

BOINC: compute for science - This is a program that lets you donate your idle computer time to various science projects.

Bird Studies Canada - Volunteer programs include Baillie Birdathon, Beached Bird Surveys, Breeding Bird Atlases, Breeding Bird Surveys, Canadian Lakes Loons Survey, Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, Christmas Bird Counts, Coastal Waterbird Surveys, eBird Canada, Marsh Monitoring Program, Nocturnal Owl Surveys, Project Feeder Watch and Project Nest Watch.

Bumble Bee Watch - What you can do to help conserve native bumble bees.

Canwarn, Environment Canada - Storm warnings via ham radio operators.

Christmas Bird Count - This is organized by the Audubon Society and is the longest running North American project involving public participation. See also Bird Studies Canada.

Evergreen - Help bring nature to our cities through tree planting.

Global Vision International - Adult volunteers pay to work abroad on critical conservation and community projects.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup - Do some conservation work in your local watershed.

Large Hadron Collider - Physicists can use your computer to work with particle accelerators.

Lep Course: Comprehensive Introduction to Lepidoptera Identification and Classification - For people seriously interested in identifying butterflies and moths. This is a summer course held in Arizona.

Monitor Migration of Admiral and Painted Lady Butterflies

North American Butterfly Association - Organizes summer butterfly counts. See also Alberta and Athabasca butterfly counts.

Nature Watch - This includes FrogWatch, IceWatch, PlantWatch and WormWatch

Project Feeder Watch - Sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.

RinkWatch - Global warming can be monitored with outdoor skating rinks.

Seeds - Programs include Cloud Watch, Bird Challenge, One Tonne Challenge, and Take the Plunge (Water).

Search for Extraterrestrail Intelligence (SETI) - uses Internet-connected home computers to do the work.

StripeSpotter - A computer program for an automatic individual animal identification system for animals with prominent stripes or patches.

Whale Sharks - Check the “Get Involved” and “Log a whale shark sighting”.

Science Outreach Athabasca - April 2, 2014

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