Citizen Paleontologists Are Making History

During the last Ice Age, mammoths and mastodons roamed Florida. Today, fossil hunters like James Kennedy of Vero Beach, Florida find their bones. “I'm not a scientist,” said James in a recent interview for National Public Radio. “I just go out and dig up bones good. I'm good at finding them." But I’d contend that James is a scientist – a citizen scientist. Many people collect fossils. I like to think of these fossil hunters as “citizen paleontologists” and they can play important roles in scientific discovery. For example, one of the bones James collected is more than just a fossil. It’s also prehistoric art. An image of a mammoth is engraved on the bone. Scientists estimate that the engraving was made at least 13,000 years ago. It’s an important clue to how humans lived at the time. Several research projects are combining the skills and interests of citizen paleontologists with those of scientists in order to help us understand more about earth’s history and evolution. Here are a few examples of projects that are getting citizens and researchers working together and leading to scientific discoveries. … Read more

Categories: Animals, Citizen Science, Geology & Earth Sciences, Nature & Outdoors, Science Education Standards

Birds on the brain

As spring revs up to full gear, I enjoy taking runs around my neighborhood to enjoy the colorful bursts of flower and bits of cheerful birdsong. If you too have a soft-spot for feathered creatures, consider becoming a citizen science observer for one of these three great projects! If you live in a city or … Read more “Birds on the brain”

Categories: Animals, Biology, Birds, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Nature & Outdoors, Science Education Standards

Florida researchers put Cuban treefrogs on ice

We often highlight citizen science projects that ask volunteers to note where and when they see a particular animal. However, researchers at the University of Florida are asking citizen scientists to go one step further — not only does this group need help spotting invasive Cuban treefrogs, but also, they’d like you to help get … Read more “Florida researchers put Cuban treefrogs on ice”

Categories: Animals, Biology, Ecology & Environment, Nature & Outdoors