From snorkeling to selfies, here’s how you can advance scientific research

By Catherine Hoffman May 25th, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Comment

You’re in good company
unnamed (2)We just returned from the 2017 Citizen Science Association conference in St. Paul, MN and we can confirm that citizen science is hot!  Give yourself a pat on the back for being part of this awesome movement!
Below, we share some new and alumni projects we think you’ll love. Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

NASA
Globe at Night
Seven out of 10 people in the US have never seen the Milky Way Galaxy in the night sky due to light pollution. You can help understand light pollution in your community by measuring the night sky brightness.
Location: Global 

Stream Selfie
Map streams across the country and start testing the waters with Stream Selfie. All you need to do is find a stream, snap a photo, and answer some brief questions. You’ll help fill important gaps in our understanding of water quality.
Location: United States

Rescue a Reef
You can help with coral reef restoration with the University of Miami research team. You will be trained in data collection, coral nursery management, and coral restoration. You will need either SCUBA Certification or strong snorkeling skills.
Location: Miami, Florida

Avi
FloodCrowd
Across the United Kingdom, if you’ve seen a flood, big or small, you can contribute your observation to FloodCrowd. Your observations will help assess flood risk management with citizen science.
Location: United Kingdom

North Carolina King Tides
Be on the lookout for high water in North Carolina due to heavy rains, storms, wind, and king tides. Your photos help communities understand their vulnerabilities to coastal flooding during times of extreme high tides or sea-level rise.
Location: North Carolina

Congratulations to the Project Slam finalists! 

We heard over 20 fast-paced talks about new citizen science projects during the Project Slam sponsored by SciStarter at the Citizen Science Association conference. Congratulations to Sparrow Swap, Mark2Cure, and the City Nature Challenge for being the top-voted projects!


Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Book Review: Citizen Science, How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery

By Guest May 23rd, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Comment

By Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher

Caren Cooper. (2016). Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery. Overlook Press: New York, NY. $28.95.

While publications proliferate on the subject of citizen science, an introduction to inform and delight all readers has been conspicuously absent until Caren Cooper’s new book, Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery hit the shelves this spring. In the pages of Citizen Science we find compelling stories of citizen scientists who shape the field as we now know it. Cooper tells these stories not only as entertainment, although her prose and humour certainly keeps readers entertained, but, importantly, to inspire readers to take up citizen science themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Global Mosquito Alert: UN Backed Citizen Science Platform to Fight Mosquito-Borne Diseases

By Guest May 16th, 2017 at 11:18 am | Comment

With the summer approaching, so are the mosquitoes. Now a UN-backed global platform will align citizen scientists from around the world to track and control these disease-carrying species.

By Yujia He

Mosquitoes are an annoying and unavoidable part of the warmer season. Their constant buzzing follows you whenever you step outside of your house, and the females feast on your blood to produce their offspring.

In many parts of the world, mosquitoes bring not just annoyance but also disease and death. Globally mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and malaria kill 250,000 people a month, compared to 130,000 deaths from all forms of violence. Citizens tracking and controlling mosquitoes are on the frontline of our fight against such diseases. A UN-backed new initiative, Global Mosquito Alert, will empower these local citizen scientists to collect, process and share data about mosquitoes on a global scale.

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main type of mosquito that spread Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and other viruses. Author: James Gathany. Source: Wikipedia Commons

As the first global citizen science mosquito monitoring platform, Global Mosquito Alert will bring together scientists and volunteers from around the world to share real-time local citizen-generated data. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) maintains the centralized platform Environmental Live that provides open data to policy makers, researchers and the general public. Data will come from a consortium of providers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Currently the consortium includes Globe Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper (U.S./International), Invasive mosquito project (U.S.), Muggenradar (Netherlands), Mosquito Alert (Spain), ZanzaMapp (Italy), MosquitoWEB (Portugal), and CitizenScience.Asia (Hong Kong/Asia). At a workshop convening national/local project teams in Geneva in April, organized by the UNEP, the Wilson Center’s Science and Tech Innovation Program (STIP), and the European Citizen Science Association, participants have agreed to work towards a standardized protocol of citizen science monitoring to enable data sharing and analysis.

Citizens interested in mosquito monitoring can use simple tools to generate and report data to national/local citizen science projects. For instance, the Invasive mosquito project, based in the U.S., recruits volunteers to use no more than brown paper towels and dark-colored plastic party cups to collect data on mosquito eggs around their homes.

The Mosquito Alert project, based in Spain, asks volunteers to use a smartphone app to snap pictures of the mosquito or the breeding site and send them via the app. Kids and students can also participate following the project protocols including the safety instructions. In the long and leisurely summer months ahead, such an educational experience from participating in citizen science projects could be very appealing to our young future scientists.

“Global Mosquito Alert” will contribute to our understanding of the local and global distribution of mosquito species and habitats, where existing open data from government sources is still limited in both the species diversity and the geographical scope. For instance, the CDC website provides only the potential range of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, the two Zika-carrying mosquito species within the United States. Enhanced data availability and accuracy will enable better and faster response and thus mitigate the risks of mosquito-borne diseases.

In addition, the platform will pool together the data, knowledge and experience of existing projects for use by citizen science groups, allowing for more streamlined project implementation and community response at lower cost. As the Director of Science at UN Environment, Jacqueline McGlade, said, the platform is “a unique infrastructure that is open for all to use and may be augmented with modular components and implemented on a range of scales to meet local and global research and management needs.” It will “offer the benefit of the millions spent in developing existing mosquito monitoring projects to local citizen science groups around the world.”

“Global Mosquito Alert” welcomes participation from citizen science mosquito monitoring projects around the world. If you would like to sign up for the initiative, please contact Anne Bowser or Eleonore Pauwels.


Yujia He is a Research Assistant in the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Citizen Science Day: Goggles, Lab Coat, Degree not Required

By Catherine Hoffman May 13th, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Comment

Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter

Darlene Cavalier was recently featured on the “Lab Out Loud” podcast discussing ways to get involved in science in and out of the classroom.

Listen now to learn how you, your students and your family can be citizen scientists by catching clouds with an app, documenting road kill, or fighting Alzheimer’s with an online game. These are all ways you can participate and celebrate Citizen Science Day!

Thank you to Lab Out Loud podcast for featuring SciStarter and for National Science Teacher’s Association for providing support for the podcast.

Out-of-this-world citizen science just for you!

By Catherine Hoffman May 11th, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Comment

unnamed (1)You can be a space scientist!
Take photos of the upcoming solar eclipse, help map the surface of the moon, document seal populations from satellite images, and more! Here are out-of-this-world citizen science projects we think you’ll love. Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read the rest of this entry »