Having just returned from a vacation to one my favorite cities of all time, Seattle, I thought I would highlight some of the amazing citizen science projects taking place in Washington state. Below, I’ve provided just a quick sampling of some the projects we’ve added to our Project Finder.
Do you know of any other projects in the state of Washington? If so, leave a comment or add them to the Project Finder yourself!
- Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication, and Health (BEACH) volunteers monitor high-risk Washington state beaches for bacteria called “enterococci”. The presence of this bacteria at elevated levels means there is a potential for disease-causing bacteria and viruses to also be present. BEACH is intended to reduce the risk of disease for people who play in saltwater.
- State of the Oyster volunteers help monitor bacterial contamination levels in edible shellfish collected from privately owned Washington state beaches in Hood Canal and throughout Puget Sound
- The Salish Sea Hydrophone Network needs volunteers to help monitor the critical habitat of endangered Pacific Northwest killer whales by detecting orca sounds and measuring ambient noise levels. Volunteers are especially needed in 2010 to help notify researchers when orcas are in the Salish Sea, which encompasses the waters of Puget Sound and the surrounding area.
- Seward Park has gone bonkers for citizen science. They need volunteers for a wide range of cool projects, including hemlock tree monitoring, plankton sampling, bat surveys, water chemistry, phenology, eagle and raptor DNA fingerprinting, and even coyote tracking with the help of Twitter. That’s enough citizen science to last a lifetime!
The Pacific Biodiversity Institute offers two surveying projects: the Harbor Porpoise Monitoring Project at locations near Anacortes, Whidbey Island, and San Juan Island, and the Western Gray Squirrel Project in the Methow Watershed.
- Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is a network of citizen scientists that monitor marine resources and ecosystem health at 300 beaches across northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Team volunteers pledge to survey their beach every month, and, in return, the COASST office gives that information back out to volunteers and the communities.
- SoundCitizen is a community-based water sampling network in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. Staffed by undergraduate students at the University of Washington, the project needs citizen volunteers and school groups, who voluntarily collect water samples from aquatic systems, perform a series of simple chemical tests, and then mail samples to the lab to be analyzed for cooking spices and emerging pollutants.