Is Rachel Maddow a citizen scientist?

On the list of reasons to watch The Rachel Maddow Show, one wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find “lessons in ornithology” near the top. Well, after Monday night’s show, that’s exactly what viewers got! In the video clip below, Maddow explains how she was recently walking her dog in a western Massachusetts forest when she heard … Read more “Is Rachel Maddow a citizen scientist?”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Computers & Technology, In the News, Nature & Outdoors

Night owls needed

Scientists all over the northeast want to know more about where native owls live and roam. By keeping mice and other small rodents in check, owls perform a critical function in suburban ecosystems. But researchers don’t yet understand why owls survive well in some suburban areas and not in others. So, all you citizen scientists … Read more “Night owls needed”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Nature & Outdoors

Map an important bird habitat: your own backyard

Is your yard for the birds? This fall, Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology will unveil YardMap, a citizen science project that asks participants to map their yards and green spaces to help researchers better understand where birds live. The project provides a Google satellite image of your yard (or another green space of your choice), … Read more “Map an important bird habitat: your own backyard”

Categories: Birds, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Nature & Outdoors

One firefly mystery solved, another needs your help

Recently, my pal at Live Science.com, Dave Brody, produced this video news piece about the results of a fascinating experiment involving fireflies. Scientists at the University of Connecticut have discovered that males in a common species of fireflies synchronize their flashing patterns to attract females. In dense fields or woods, the mass, synchronized flashing patterns … Read more “One firefly mystery solved, another needs your help”

Categories: Citizen Science, Insects, Nature & Outdoors

Got ants? Citizen scientists do

“Everybody have ants?” That’s Kelly Herbinson, an entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences, training high school students in the art of collecting ants for the Bay Area Ant Survey, one of the Academy’s citizen science projects. (You’ll find a description in our Project Finder.) The project and the problem ant that participants most often … Read more “Got ants? Citizen scientists do”

Categories: Citizen Science, Insects

Citizen scientists needed to track oil damage–by phone

An important new citizen science project turned up in our database the other day—and it urgently needs volunteers. MoGO, short for Mobile Gulf Observatory, is an iPhone app that enlists volunteers to record and report the damage of the Gulf Coast oil spill on the region’s wildlife and environment. It was created by researchers at … Read more “Citizen scientists needed to track oil damage–by phone”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Citizen Science, Computers & Technology, Ecology & Environment

State of the Science: Washington

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 … Read more “State of the Science: Washington”

Categories: Animals, Biology, Birds, Chemistry, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Geology & Earth Sciences, Health, Nature & Outdoors, Ocean & Water, Physics, Science Education Standards

Citizen science goes to the beach

As Memorial Day approaches and Americans slide into summer vacation, many are preparing to make the annual pilgrimage to the beach. While basting in the sun and ambling along a coastline, those with scientific leanings will inevitably tune into the surrounding natural environment—casually observing and appreciating the water, plants, fish, and other marine life. So why not … Read more “Citizen science goes to the beach”

Categories: Animals, Citizen Science, Nature & Outdoors, Ocean & Water

Save gorillas: yeah, there’s an app for that

Pictured here are my son and a silverback gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo. As the gorilla approached the observatory window, my son nervously began to chew on his finger. The gorilla slowly, gently walked up to the window and mimicked–dare I say, empathized with–my little guy.  “No one who looks into a gorilla’s eyes — … Read more “Save gorillas: yeah, there’s an app for that”

Categories: Animals, Citizen Science

Science volunteers give endangered butterfly a new start

One of the loveliest butterflies in the San Francisco Bay Area is the mission blue. Hikers who venture south of the city to San Bruno Mountain or north to the Marin Headlands are sometimes lucky enough to encounter the iridescent, inch-wide insect (as I did a couple of weekends ago). But the butterfly, an endangered … Read more “Science volunteers give endangered butterfly a new start”

Categories: Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Insects, Nature & Outdoors