Thursday, January 17, 2019

Become a Citizen Scientist!

Rain gauge, photo courtesy

Citizen science is the involvement of the public in scientific research – whether community-driven research or global investigations. The Citizen Science Association unites expertise from educators, scientists, data managers, and others to power citizen science. By becoming part of a citizen science project, you can help speed innovation by sharing insights across disciplines. Following are two citizen projects that might be interesting to Jefferson County gardeners.

Calliope hummingbird, photo courtesy

Audubon Rockies has ongoing community science projects in need of volunteers. Community science is the collection and analysis of scientific data by everyday people in collaboration with professional scientists. Your involvement will help birds and you will gain research experience. By participating, you'll expand Audubon’s ability to collect data and use it to conserve birds. Traditionally called "citizen science" Audubon now uses the word "community" to include all our members. Opportunities include bird banding, bird counts, and collecting data on hummingbirds among other projects. Check out Audubon Rockies Community Science website for more information.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Snow and Hail network (CoCoRaHS) is an 20-year old, international grassroots volunteer network of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow) in local communities. The only requirements to join are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions and a desire to learn more about how weather impacts our lives. Sign up at the official CoCoRaHS website. You will need a high capacity, 4” rain gauge (information about purchasing is on the website). 

Citizen science projects are available in all communities, in all seasons. Projects related to native bees have been common in Colorado over the past few years. Check with your county extension agent, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and other local educational institutions to learn about citizen science projects that are currently active. It’s a great way to promote science in your community and beyond!