Philly citizens help toads cross the road

They come by the hundreds, always under cover of night: It’s the annual migration of American toads in Upper Roxborough, a suburb of Philadelphia. And that means it’s time for the Toad Detour, when citizens and officials come together to close local roads—and educate commuters—so the amphibians can cross safely to their breeding grounds. From … Read more “Philly citizens help toads cross the road”

Categories: Amphibians, Animals, Biology, Nature & Outdoors

What’s all the buzz about bees?

Before I headed to Austin, TX  last week for the SXSW music, film, and interactive conference (I helped put together a panel discussion there on the Future of Gaming for Discover Magazine and the National Science Foundation), I Googled “citizen science in Austin” and came upon the Texas Beewatchers. The organizer of this citizen science … Read more “What’s all the buzz about bees?”

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

Help needed: monarch butterflies in trouble

Monarch butterflies need our help! The regal butterflies, hit hard by the torrential February rains in Mexico, are at their lowest population levels since 1975,  according to Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. The storms killed 50 to 60 percent of the breeding colonies in northern Mexico; the butterfly population … Read more “Help needed: monarch butterflies in trouble”

Categories: Ecology & Environment, Insects, Nature & Outdoors

“Who’s whoo-ing” in your backyard?

Are you a Westchester (NY), Putnam (NY), or Fairfield County (CT) resident just itching for a reason to dust off that old boombox? If so, the The Who’s Whoo-ing citizen science project needs you to play a CD of owl calls for 10 minutes and record if a response is heard. Using simple “call playback surveys”, the Mianus River … Read more ““Who’s whoo-ing” in your backyard?”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Citizen Science, Nature & Outdoors

The hummingbird versus Godzilla–on video!

To fans of hummingbirds and “nature cams,” Phoebe Allens needs no introduction. She’s an intrepid little momma bird whose adventures in nurturing her young have been well documented by a Web cam pointed at her nest in a rose bush in Orange County, California. Now that spring is nearly here, it’s time for another exciting … Read more “The hummingbird versus Godzilla–on video!”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Citizen Science, Nature & Outdoors

Phone apps for citizen scientists: What are you packing?

One of the many reasons I love to sneak up to Point Reyes is the night sky.  It’s often stunningly clear up there compared to foggy, urban San Francisco, offering a gorgeous celestial show to anyone inclined to look up. But on a recent getaway, I was bummed to find out that I’d forgotten to … Read more “Phone apps for citizen scientists: What are you packing?”

Categories: Animals, Apps, Astronomy & Space, Biology, Birds, Computers & Technology

Hey pretty ladybug: you come to this ski lodge often?

A few weeks ago, I snapped a photo of my kids skiing in the Poconos (while I hung out in the lodge). I noticed this ladybug walking along the windowsill. A quick Google search informed me that it’s not uncommon for folks living in mountainous regions to be invested with ladybugs seeking shelter in the … Read more “Hey pretty ladybug: you come to this ski lodge often?”

Categories: Citizen Science, Insects

Make Science History with the Open Dinosaur Project

Here’s your chance to be part of science history! In the video below, Andy Farke and Matt Wedel introduce the Open Dinosaur Project, a collaborative research effort to develop a database of dinosaur bone measurements. The best part? You don’t need formal scientific training, a background in research, or even to have seen the Jurassic … Read more “Make Science History with the Open Dinosaur Project”

Categories: Animals, Archeology, Biology, Citizen Science, Geology & Earth Sciences

Nine million birds and counting

There is definitely no breed of citizen scientist more enthusiastic and dedicated than bird watchers. The results of last weekend’s birding binge are now being tallied on the Great Backyard Bird Count website—and they are mighty impressive. Here are some highlights: Total checklists submitted: 81,590 Total species observed: 582 Total individual birds counted: 9,443,847 Even … Read more “Nine million birds and counting”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Citizen Science

Don’t miss the Great Backyard Bird Count

Get those binoculars out: The Great Backyard Bird Count 2010 takes place this Friday through next Monday, February 12 to 15. In as little as 15 minutes a day, you can help scientists learn how climate, disease, and habitat changes are affecting bird populations. Plus, you’ll have fun checking out your backyard visitors. The bird … Read more “Don’t miss the Great Backyard Bird Count”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Citizen Science, Nature & Outdoors