Author Archive

Seven citizen science projects to do in the snow!

By January 5th, 2018 at 7:28 am | Comment

Will Cavalier measures snowfall in Philadelphia to help cryosphere researchers calibrate instruments on weather satellites.

Did you know that forecasters rely on YOU to help accurately predict snow storms, floods, droughts and extreme weather conditions? The National Weather Service, for example, depends on people just like you to report local rain and snow precipitation measurements to a citizen science project known asCoCoRaHS: Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network. Learn more about this long-running, popular project and, when you’re ready to jump in, set up your rain gauge before the next rain or snow storm to collect rain, record measurements, and share data! CoCoRaHS shares the data with scientists, planners, and, yes, the National Weather Service. CoCoRaHS is also a SciStarter Affiliate which means you can earn credit for participation in your SciStarter dashboard. OOOOOOH! (SciStarter is a global community of citizen scientists with operations anchored in Philly!)

This is one is cool. Simply by Tweeting the precise snow accumulation data where you are, you can help cryosphere researchers calibrate the accuracy of instruments on-board weather satellites orbiting overhead! Those instruments are great at taking pictures and analyzing wide sections of land but they cannot tell the difference between, say, a snow bank and a huge accumulation of naturally falling snow. But you can! Get your ruler, put your warm winter gear on, and head outside to do SnowTweets! Tag @SciStarter and #SnowDay if you decide to do this one and we’ll give you a shout out!

Here are more projects on SciStarter that you can do in the snow!

12 days of Christmas with Citizen Science!

By December 19th, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Comment

Tis the season for citizen science!

Courtesy of John Ohab

(Originally published 12/16)

Make sure you’re on Santa’s “nice list” this year. Lend your hands, hearts and brains to science during these 12 days leading up to Christmas!

On the 1st day of Christmas, the Forest Restoration Alliance gave to me:

A chance to monitor the invasive insects that attack both hemlocks and Fraser firs (the most popular Christmas Tree in North America).

On the 2nd day of Christmas, Audubon gave to me:

Two turtle doves that I spotted during the Christmas Bird Count! The count is the world’s longest running citizen science project.

On the 3rd day of Christmas, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center gave to me:

Three Chinese mitten hens (female crabs) on the east coast of the United States. Mitten Crab Watch needs our help to determine the current distribution status of the mitten crab in the region.

On the 4th day of Christmas, Audubon gave to me:

Four or more calling birds that I “adopted” for the holidays. Through December 31st, anyone can adopt a bird for someone special, and Audubon will send them a personalized holiday card showcasing the adoption and an Audubon gift membership.

On the 5th day of Christmas, geographers at Wilfrid Laurier University gave to me:

Five frozen skating rinks! This winter, you can track climate change through backyard skating rinks by taking part in Rink Watch. Just put in the location of your backyard rink on a map and record days you can skate.

On the 6th of Christmas, Seattle Audubon Society gave to me:

A chance to help seabird researchers create a snapshot of geese density on more than three square miles of near-shore saltwater habitat.

On the 7th day of Christmas, the Swan Society of the University of Melbourne gave to me: 

The MySwan project to report sightings of tagged black swans around the world. After you submit your sighting, you’ll get an instant report about the swan, with interesting information about its history and recent movements.

On the 8th day of Christmas, Zooniverse gave to me:

The Milky Way Project, a chance to help scientists study our galaxy, as well as the Milky Way advent calendar and even Milky Way tree ornaments!

On the 9th day of Christmas, the European Space Agency gave to me:

Citizen scientists doing our favorite dance: the robot! By flying a Parrot AR drone in virtual space, you can help create new robotic capabilities for space probes and contribute to future space exploration.

On the 10th day of Christmas, CoCoRaHS gave to me:

Ten million snowflakes! Measure them and share your precipitation data with the National Weather Service through CoCoRaHS!

On the 11th day of Christmas, the University of Washington gave to me:

SingAboutScience, a searchable database where you can find content-rich songs on specific scientific and mathematical topics. These singers sure have some pipes!

On the 12th day of Christmas, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation gave to me:

The Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey to help hunters survey the population of ruffed grouse during breeding season.

Happy holidays from the SciStarter team!

Categories: Citizen Science

“The Ultimate SciStarter How-To” (recorded webinar from the Citizen Science Association)

By December 11th, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Comment

SciStarter (see SciStarter.com) helps people discover opportunities to engage in scientific research through a searchable database of more than 2200 projects and events shared with PBS, Discover, the National Science Teachers Association, libraries, museums, and more. Participants can find, bookmark, join, and track their contributions to projects through SciStarter. Project leaders can register their projects/events/tools on SciStarter and tap into free promotional and recruiting services while learning more about the interests and behaviors of their participants. Researchers can access dynamic data about the landscape of projects (topics, audiences, and goals, for example), or work with SciStarter to dive deeper into analytics.

If you are a project leader, this webinar will help you learn how to:
1) easily add your project, event, or tool and, 2) integrate new, NSF-supported embeddable tools to recruit, retain, and learn more about the behaviors of participants.

If you are a researcher, this webinar will help you learn how to:
1) quickly access dynamic data about projects (% with classroom materials; % of online projects, and more), and 2) work with SciStarter to access deeper analytics.

If you represent a STEM resource provider, University, or K-12 institution, this webinar will help you learn how to:
1) embed a plug-in version of the SciStarter database on your own website; 2) pilot our subscription-based, curated, facilitated citizen science experience.

Introducing SciStarter 2.0; built with you in mind.

By September 19th, 2017 at 10:03 pm | Comment

You spoke, we listened. So come on over and check out the new SciStarter, your source for real science you can do! We feature more than 1600 current opportunities for you (yup, you!) to advance scientific research, locally or globally.

Help scientists and community leaders monitor the quality of water, air and soil near you. Learn how to report levels of light pollution, a serious issue affecting sleeping and nesting habits of wildlife (not to mention it’s the reason you probably can’t see the Milky Way!). Or help Alzheimer’s researchers analyze real brain blood flow movies and simply click an image to record when blood vessels are stalled.

With support from the National Science Foundation and others, and your feedback, we’ve created new features for participants, projects owners, and researchers. We hope you like your dashboard, for example, where you can bookmark, join, or track your contributions to projects and events of interest to you, connect with scientists, find other participants, and so much more.

Will you kindly fill out your profile then complete this survey to let us know what you think about the new features?

Your feedback will help us understand where we need to put our efforts next in order to support your interests and needs in citizen science.

Cheers!

The SciStarter Team

Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1600+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Categories: Citizen Science

IMLS support will help public libraries serve as community hubs for citizen science

By September 6th, 2017 at 9:59 am | Comment

Please note: If you run a project that requires participants to use low cost (under $300) tools not commonly found around the house (rain gauge, sensor, telescope, water testing kit, clip on magnifying lens, recording device, bulk printed materials, etc), and this lack of access to the tools is creating a barrier to entry for your would-be-participants, please email darlene@scistarter.com. Thanks to support from IMLS, we will soon begin to evaluate the characteristics of projects and tools relative to the interests and capacities of communities and librarians, to understand ideal factors for creating and sustaining citizen science toolkits in libraries and supporting libraries as community hubs for citizen science.  If you’d like your project and tools to be considered for this new program, please send me an email. Thank you.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced 49 grants to institutions totaling $10,216,923. The awards are made through the FY 2017 second cycle of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

“We are delighted to announce today’s grant recipients whose projects are designed to have lasting benefits for the library and archives fields,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “These grants highlight how IMLS helps steer the nation’s investments in libraries and ensure that librarians are equipped to provide citizens access to the information, resources, and services they want and need.”

National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that address challenges faced by the library and archives fields and that have the potential to advance library and archival practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, or alliances that can be widely replicated.

One of the funded projects (IMLS LG-95-17-0158-17) will support public libraries as community hubs for citizen science through a toolkit of citizen science resources by Arizona State University, in partnership with Arizona State Library, NISE Net, and SciStarter .

The team will develop a field-tested, replicable, low-cost toolkit of citizen science resources for public libraries. The project team of librarians, citizen science experts, informal STEM educators, practitioners, and scientists, will: 1) develop and evaluate citizen science toolkits that will be available for and through the public library partners; 2) create associated resources to train, support, and communicate with librarians and citizen scientists; and 3) work with stakeholders to create a plan to scale the model to interested libraries, statewide then nationally. The project will leverage SciStarter, an online community that brings together science researchers and citizen scientists, with a database of over 1,600 citizen science projects, several requiring tools and instruments that may be made more accessible through the new pilot lending libraries. Summative evaluation will assess the library staffs’ knowledge of citizen science, their capacities, and sense of self-efficacy in engaging patrons in citizen science activities, and will also measure the extent of patrons’ participation in citizen science as a result of the library programming.

Visit the IMLS website for more information about the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program.

Categories: libraries

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