Valiant volunteers watch out for our water

You might say this post misses the boat. It’s about citizen scientists who monitor water quality—and World Water Day was last week. But  the remarkable thing about these volunteers is that they never stop. They work all year round and nearly around the clock to keep our rivers, streams, and lakes healthy. Now I know … Read more “Valiant volunteers watch out for our water”

Categories: Biology, Chemistry, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Nature & Outdoors, Ocean & Water

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

View the Milky Way, help stem light pollution!

Have you ever seen the Milky Way from where you live? Most of us have not and it’s largely due to increased light pollution from outdoor lighting. Light pollution not only wastes between 2 to 10 billion dollars a year in energy and money but it causes human sleep disorders and disrupts habits critical to … Read more “View the Milky Way, help stem light pollution!”

Categories: Astronomy & Space, Citizen Science, Nature & Outdoors

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

Octopi use coconuts as mobile homes

Cephalopods use their heads: Australian researchers Julian K. Finn, Tom Tregenza, and Mark D. Norman have discovered octopi that carry around coconut shell halves and use them as shelter. They say it’s the first report of tool use by an invertebrate, a skill that crows, chimps, and, of course, humans share. Check out the amazing … Read more “Octopi use coconuts as mobile homes”

Categories: Animals, Biology, Birds, Nature & Outdoors