Archive for the ‘Workshops’ Category

Experience NEON’s Citizen Science Academy Online

By January 15th, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Comment


Are you looking for a way to include citizen science in your teaching but not sure where to start? NEON’s Citizen Science Academy (CSA) is a new professional development resource designed to help educators successfully engage learners in key aspects of citizen science from making observations and measurements, to visualization, and more. NEON’s CSA offers facilitated, self-paced, online courses for formal, informal, and non-formal educators wishing to incorporate citizen science into their educational programs. Registration is now open for five Winter 2014 courses which are listed below along with short descriptions of each of the courses. We look forward to meeting you in one of our courses! The deadline for winter registration is February 7th.


Winter Term Offerings (February 4 – March 7, 2014)

– CSA 501a/b: Introduction to Project BudBurst for Educators

– CSA 502: Working with Project BudBurst Data in an Education Setting

– NEW! CSA 503: Project BudBurst Certification Program for Educators (ends April 4)

– NEW! CSA 520: Introduction to Citizen Science: Explorations in Educational Settings

NEW! CSA 503 Project BudBurst Certification Program for Educators

Have you completed both CSA 501 (or 551) and CSA 502? Are you an enthusiastic educator who would like to take your participation in Project BudBurst to a new level by engaging other citizen scientists? Take this practicum course and become a certified Project BudBurst Instructor! Due to the practicum aspect of this course, participation in this 60-day course will be limited to the first 10 qualified applicants, so be sure to register today!

NEW! CSA 520 Introduction to Citizen Science: Explorations in Educational Settings

Do you currently use Citizen Science in your teaching or outreach?  Would you like to?  In this course, you will become familiar with five successful Citizen Science projects especially suited to both formal and informal education. The projects you will learn about include: CoCoRaHS, Picture Post, Ebird, FrogWatch USA, and Project BudBurst.

CSA 501 Introduction to Project BudBurst for Educators

Looking for a way to engage your learners in the science of phenology? This professional development course will provide you with detailed information about Project BudBurst and how to participate, including how to select your plants and make observations, suggestions for structuring your learning environment, educational activities to engage your learners in making observations and analyzing data. You’ll also form a community with other educators from around the country.

CSA 502 Using Project BudBurst Data in an Educational Setting

You’ve engaged your learners with Project BudBurst and now you’d like to explore the data! This course overviews how to use Project BudBurst data in formal and informal learning environments. The course highlights an exciting new set of online data visualization tools developed by the National Geographic FieldScope program. It also covers plant adaptations to a changing climate, and links between Project BudBurst data and other large data sets. This course is offered in one section that considers both formal and informal educational objectives.

Courses are $35 and run approximately 1 month. Each course is limited to 50 participants, except for CSA503 with a maximum of 10. For those interested in teacher re-certification, all 30-day courses can be taken for 2 optional, graduate level continuing education credits from Colorado School of Mines. The fee for 2 optional credits is $90. Participants in CSA503 (60-days) are eligible to earn 3 optional credits.


Questions? Email us at

Register now!


Webinar: “What’s Being Measured on Creating Organism and Site Attributes”

By January 9th, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Comment

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 11.36.55 AM will be planning a “Feature Friday” webinar where you, as members of the growing citizen science community, are invited to offer your ideas and thoughts about improvements to Their team will demonstrate how to use the website feature and take feedback. The January webinar will focus on “What’s Being Measured,” and this discussion will include different approaches to editing, deleting, and sharing attributes (e.g. air temperature). Together, hopes to guide the future of this exciting platform in support of your collaborative citizen science / community based monitoring efforts.

Date: January 10, 2014
Feature: What’s being measured on Creating organism and site attributes
Time: 1:00-2:00p (MST)

Details: Join this meeting

Dial (312) 878-3081
Access Code: 921-412-709
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 921-412-709 Webinar on 12/6/13 : Building Datasheets

By December 5th, 2013 at 11:39 am | Comment

This is a webinar opportunity from our friends at Details below!

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 11.36.55 AM

Greetings from! We are pleased to announce our December “Feature Friday” webinar where you, as members of the growing community, are invited to offer your ideas and thoughts about improvements to The first Friday of each month these webinars will focus on a specific topic / feature of We will demonstrate how to use the website feature and take feedback. The December webinar will focus on “Building Datasheets.” Together, we hope to guide the future of this exciting platform in support of your collaborative citizen science / community based monitoring efforts.

WHAT: December “Feature Friday” webinar


December 6, 2013 (12:00 noon PST; 1:00 PM MST; 2:00 PM CST; 3:00 PM EST)


1 hour

Date: December 6, 2013
Feature: Building Datasheets
Time: 1:00-2:00p (MST)

Dial (267) 507-0003
Access Code: 613-600-397
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 613-600-397

Please see this page for more details.



Citizen Science Academy: Bunny Slippers Optional

By February 18th, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Comment


Project Budburst Citizen ScienceWhen I first became involved in online professional development (PD) courses about 10 years ago, the casual approach to participation in terms of time and attire were often noted as desirable features. An often-touted advantage to online PD was that individuals could participate at 3 a.m. wearing pajamas and bunny slippers. Over the years, as the boon in online PD has expanded, I sometimes wonder if the sale of bunny slippers has kept pace with the expansion of online PD opportunities for educators.

Online education has gone mainstream, as evidenced by the large number of colleges and universities providing accredited online courses as part of their degree programs. Powerhouse universities like Stanford and Yale helped lead the way a few years back by offering their courses online and attracting hundreds of thousands of students. The widespread acceptance of top-notch universities provided an endorsement of sorts for the effectiveness of online education. The demand for online education continues to grow and this includes PD opportunities for educators.

Traditionally, PD for educators was synonymous with face-to-face classes, workshops, and seminars. Face-to-face PD, while valuable, is generally location- and time-limited which can exclude many educators who have other obligations or do not have flexible schedules outside of teaching due to family, extracurricular obligations, or other time constraints. Online PD courses that are self-paced are very appealing because individuals can chose when to participate based on their unique situation. One of the most appealing aspects of online PD is that it can be a great equalizer, providing PD for educators at all stages of their lives and careers.

As online PD has gained popularity, citizen science (CS) has also enjoyed a time of rapid growth. In recent years, CS programs and activities have proliferated, and many are Internet-based. Examples include Project BudBurst, Project Feederwatch , and The Great Sunflower Project It is widely known that effective PD results in better implementation of programs and activities. In the case of CS, effective PD may also help with data quality.

CS programs that are entirely online — such as the NEON’ s Project BudBurst – may not have the opportunity to offer face-to-face PD or employ the old tried and true “Train the Trainer” model. We decided to test online PD using Project BudBurst and created our first course Introduction to Plants and Climate Change for Educators. In January, 2012, we informally put out the word that we had a pilot online PD course for educators hoping to register about 15 people. Within a week, we had over 200 registrants and had to close registration as we could not meet demand. That is when it became clear that online PD was needed and that NEON could fill this important niche through the development of an online academy devoted to citizen science professional development – the NEON Citizen Science Academy (CSA).

NEON’s Citizen Science Academy Mission Statement: Provide online professional development resources for educators to support effective implementation of Citizen Science projects and activities that focus on ecology and environmental sciences.

The NEON CSA is intended to be a complete online PD resource for educators and will include online courses, modules, tutorials, and a virtual community of practice. Initially, I had been concerned that sharing and communication, a hallmark of face-to-face PD, would be sacrificed for the convenience of online courses. I have been pleasantly surprised to observe the exchange of ideas and thoughts in our virtual classrooms via discussion forums. Perhaps wearing bunny slippers encourages these informal exchanges.

As CSA develops, we intend to partner with other online CS programs and partner to offer a full suite of online courses and resources that support all aspects of CS for educators. Further, through a partnership with the National Geographic FieldScope program, CSA will also include innovative, free online mapping, analysis and data visualization tools that facilitate data analysis.

In the case of Project BudBurst, we now offer several courses for a wide variety of educators. One of our educators used her online PD participation to write a successful grant to engage her students in making observations of trees in their schoolyard. Another educator shared her efforts to have students in her art class take photos of plants as the seasons change. Several informal educators have designed exhibits and displays that feature Project BudBurst.

We hope you will join the growing CSA community by signing up for one of our online courses ( Bunny slippers optional.

This is a guest post from Sandra Henderson, Director for Citizen Science at the National Ecological Observatory Network.

Citizen Scientists Go Back to School

By September 10th, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Comment

It happens every year, and you’re right: it’s just not fair. After nearly three months of uninterrupted fun, gone are the barbeques, ball games and pool parties that dominated the summer schedule just as Labor Day signals the sudden arrival of the shorter, colder, and more structured days of the school year. But before you cast yourself into the depths of the autumn blues, rest assured that we are working hard to make this year’s science lessons a little different and—especially if you like nature and the outdoors—a little more fun!

Below is our third annual “Back-to-School” list of projects recommended to get teachers and students thinking about how to incorporate citizen science in the classroom. Check out our previous installments (2011, 2010) for additional ideas.

Participate in Project BudBurst: The National Ecological Observatory Network invites student citizen scientists to submit their observations of the phenophases (leafing, flowering, fruit ripening) of local grasses, shrubs and trees. This data will be compiled and compared to historical figures to help scientists learn more about the responsiveness of specific plant species to climate change. Their teachers, meanwhile, might consider enrolling in the BudBurst Academy, an online course for K-12 educators providing all the necessary information for implementing Project Budburst and engaging in citizen science in your classroom.

Plan your own BioBlitz: Even (or perhaps especially) if you missed the 2012 BioBlitz co-hosted by the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society, consider planning your own in your own neighborhood or schoolyard. These biodiversity snapshots provide valuable data for analysis of local species and their habitats.

Count some bugs: Don’t let those math skills go to waste! SciStarter features several opportunities to count stuff, particularly insects and other creepy crawlies. Just pick your favorite: dragonflies, butterflies, bumble bees, spiders, ants, and worms.

Heads up: So bugs aren’t you’re thing. No problem. How about some astronomy? You can grow tomatoes to assess the feasibility of long-term space travel; search for the compound that stores solar power and thus solves the world’s energy crisis; craft a story about your favorite astronomical bodies; or help astronomers search for and identify new planets and stars!

Be a mapmaker: The U.S. Geological Survey is considering the restoration of The National Map Corps, its volunteer mapping initiative, launching a pilot program in the state of Colorado. Anyone with an Internet connection can update the national map, adding the important man-made structures throughout the community such as hospitals, fire stations, and schools. The USGS could expand the program into other areas in the future if its initial efforts are successful. Come on Colorado!