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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

How to Become a Citizen Scientist

Citizen Science Projects

When I began researching and writing my eco mystery series, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six, I did not fully anticipate the number of dedicated environmentalist I would meet along the way. I did not anticipate that I would encounter inspired and determined conservationists from all walks of life finding ways to protect the rich biodiversity of our state. Nor did I realize that had taken the first step toward becoming a citizen scientist.

Book Cover Piping Plover Eco Mystery

In fact, we can all become citizen scientist who voluntarily contribute our time, effort, and resources toward advancing valid scientific research. We don’t necessarily need a formal science background.
The rewards of becoming a citizen science are numerous. By participating in citizen science projects we have the satisfaction of directly contributing our own findings to large scale scientific projects. In turn, professional scientists find it immensely beneficial to access the data from thousands of contributors around the world to advance scientific knowledge. People who participate in scientific research find that that it helps educate them about problems in their own communities and even global problems such as climate change.

Eartth Day at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Earth Day at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

To get started, go to SciStarter. This web site serves as a clearinghouse for thousands of citizen science projects. Choose a science project that coincides with your hobby, interest, or that arouses your curiosity. Most projects allow you to use your mobile phone or the internet to collect and submit observations and to see results.

Bird Banding Fort Morgan

For example, you can help the USGS
measure and record earthquake tremors. Or join NASA's effort in counting passing meteors, or help to monitor noise and light pollution in your community. Project NOAH, SciSpy, and iNaturalist provide free mobile apps for participants to share photos and observations of wildlife and nature in their backyards, cities, and towns. For some projects like YardMap, volunteers need to go farther than their own backyards to contribute. Students, retirees, environmental justice advocates, and even prinsoner are getting involved.
Our amazing and vital natural environment cannot be preserved and protected by a small cadre of professional, officially designated people. It will take all of us in all parts of the world to do our bit to help conserve the health of our planet for future generations.
You can also get started by joining local organizations like the
Birmingham Audubon Society on their field trips to gather data about birds in our area, or GASP with a mission to monitor and improve the air quality of out state. In addition you can contribute data to Auburn University's Alabama Herp Atlas Project, FrogWatch USA, or contribute to the Alabama Butterfly Atlas. These are just a few of the projects in which you can participate.
For those of you who live in the Birmingham Metropolitan area, you are invited to attend my seminar at the Aldridge Gardens, July 25 from 6-8p.m.

Poster Adventure Citizen Scientist