Archive for the ‘California’ tag

Reef Check Underwater Science

By March 3rd, 2017 at 8:00 am | Comment

“People protect what they love.” ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau

When I was a kid, my family and I used to love watching “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.” Every week we’d set out the TV tables and share our dinner with the French marine explorer as he led us on underwater adventures and taught us to appreciate the beauty of science and the sea.

His show is one of the main reasons I became an environmental reporter and earned my scuba diving certification in Monterey Bay, and it made a similar positive impact on millions of other kids and families across the globe.  Read the rest of this entry »

Spot a Squirrel and Help Science

By January 19th, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Comment

January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day! Celebrate by participating in one of these squirrel-centric projects. It sounds a little nutty, but researchers unnamed (2)rely on your squirrel observations to advance research about these furry friends.  Find more projects on SciStarter to do now, or bookmark your favorites for later!
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: USFWS
Project Squirrel
Squirrels are some of the most common forms of backyard wildlife. Wherever you are, you can join the study of wildlife by counting squirrels in your neighborhood and reporting your findings online.

Photo: USFWS
Southern California Squirrel Survey
Squirrels are abundant in Southern California, but some native species are in decline and other introduced species are spreading a little too quickly. Learn what’s happening in your neck of the woods by by posting a photo and location information on this website.

Photo: WA State DFWC
Western Gray Squirrel Project
The western gray squirrel is threatened in Washington state, and biologists need to know more about them to understand what’s happening. Residents in the Methow Valley can conduct squirrel surveys to estimate the size and distribution of the population.

White Squirrel Mapping
Have you ever seen a white squirrel? Throughout the world, squirrels of species that are normally grey or red are sometimes white. Report sightings of white squirrels and add to a global map of their distribution.

Photo: USFWS
SquirrelMapper
In some locations, gray squirrels have evolved to be black! By mapping the locations of black squirrels, you can help biologists understand more about this change and how it benefits the squirrels.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is launching a wildlife camera trap study called North Carolina’s Candid Critters. Find out more here.  Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Celebrating the citizen in citizen science

By November 2nd, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Comment

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

I believe that citizen science is about citizenship as well as science. By this, I don’t mean citizenship in a specific country, but in a larger community. As a citizen scientist focusing on the natural world, I become a better citizen of that world—the world of tree frogs, say, or hummingbirds or dragonflies. Citizen science makes me a better citizen of a particular place, like the river where I am looking for macroinvertebrates or the mountain range where I document invasive plant species.

Recently, I was pleased to read a paper in the journal Conservation Biology that explores whether participating in citizen science also leads to a more conventional citizenship. The authors test the theory that citizen science is a path to social and political action by taking a close look at the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that relies on volunteers to monitor beached seabirds from Mendocino, California to Kotzebue, Alaska. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Halloween with SciStarter

By October 27th, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Comment

pumpkinAre you looking for something to make you shudder this Halloween? You can skip the scary movies and the frightening costumes. We’ve got projects that are creepy, slimy, scary, and above all else fun!  Below, we’ve highlighted five spooky projects to help you celebrate Halloween.
Find more with the Scistarter Project Finder.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read the rest of this entry »

Saving California’s Seals and Sea Lions

By October 11th, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Comment

We tend to think of famine in human terms. But animal populations also experience wide-spread hunger, and the hundreds of emaciated young seals and sea lions stranded on California beaches in the past year were a poignant example.

Fortunately, a large team of citizen scientists at The Marine Mammal Center—an animal hospital and research institute north of San Francisco—were ready for the challenge. Twenty-eight crews of 15-20 people worked day and night shifts to rescue and rehabilitate the starving pups and yearlings. By July, 2016, about 1200 volunteers and 50 staff members had fought to save 380 sea lions, 220 elephant seals, 120 harbor seals, and 20 Guadalupe fur seals.  Read the rest of this entry »