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Selected National Citizen Science Initiatives


Scistarter is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through recreational activities and citizen science research projects. Their database of citizen science projects enable discovery, organization, and greater participation in citizen science.

CitSci supports your research by providing tools and resources that allow you to customize your scientific procedure - all in one location on the internet. They provide tools for the entire research process including: creating new projects, managing project members, building custom data sheets, analyzing collected data, and gathering participant feedback.

Backyard Habitat Focused:


The YardMap Network is an NSF-funded project that builds online communities to investigate the impacts of bird-friendly and carbon-neutral practices in backyards, community gardens, and parks. Participants can locate their yards or parks on a Google maps interface, then document their sustainable practices using simple point and click tools to create data maps. People document practices such as adding native plants, putting up bird feeders, installing a solar panel, or reducing lawn size. By providing access to rich media resources for learning about sustainable practices and enabling people share their maps and practices with each other, YardMap strives to create online conservation communities engaged in real life sustainable practices 

Pollinator Focused: 

Bumblebee Watch (Xerces)

Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows for individuals to: upload photos of bumble bees (launching a virtual bumble bee collection); identify the bumble bees in photos and have the identifications verified by experts; help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees.


Great Sunflower Project

By watching and recording bee activity on sunflowers, citizen scientists can help generate the data that will enable deeper understand of the challenges bees face. Very little is known about bee activity in home and community gardens and their surrounding environments, but the Great Sunflower Project seeks to develop this crucial link in the survival of bees, native habitats and local produce. 


Goldenrod Challenge

Collecting data through photography with participants generating "life lists" in their locales.


Journey North

 Journey North is a free, Internet-based program that explores the interrelated aspects of seasonal change. Through interrelated investigations, students explore how sunlight drives all living systems and the dynamic ecosystem that surrounds and connects them.

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Through the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project citizens collect data that will help to explain the distribution and abundance patterns of monarch butterflies in North America. Participants commit to monitor patches of milkweed weekly to count monarch eggs and larvae, and assess milkweed density. 

Monarch Watch Tagging and Waystations

Monarch butterflies pollinate many plants, and Monarch Watch runs two programs in which citizens and schools and classrooms can participate:  the Monarch Watch Tagging program and Monarch Waystations. To offset the loss of milkweeds and nectar sources, individuals can create, conserve, and protect milkweed/monarch habitats.  Once a “waystation” has been created, it can be certified with a sign that can be purchased from Monarch Watch.


Vanessa Migration Project

The Vanessa Migration Project is an opportunity to share observations of Vanessa butterflies (Red Admirals and Painted Ladies) to track the movements and seasonal changes in distribution of these butterflies. 


 Plant AND Phenology Focused: 


USA – National Phenology Network (USA-NPN)

The USA-NPN brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone.

The New York Phenology Project, a community science research initiative focused on plant-pollinator phenology in NY state, founded and run by CGC, uses the USA-NPN database and protocols. 



Project Budburst

A national field campaign designed to engage the public in the collection of important ecological data based on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants (plant phenophases). Focused on education and phenology in the classroom Project Budburst also functions as a national database for citizen science observations. 


Bird Focused: 


Cornell Lab of Ornithology Citizen Science Overview

Cornell Lab of Ornithology is leading the effort in citizen science related to bird monitoring. See the link above to learn about thier various efforts: Project Feeder Watch, eBird, NestWatch, Celebrate Urban Birds, and the Great BackYard Bird Count.  


Amphibian Focused:

Frog Watch USA

A citizen science program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting data on the calls of local frogs and toads. AZA’s FrogWatch USA comprises a national network of skilled coordinators and volunteers that form a community with the common goal of providing large scale, long-term data on frogs and toads in the United States. FrogWatch-FieldScope allows participants to enter and review their data, as well as explore maps and graphs. 


North American Amphibian Monitroing Program (NAAM) USGS:

NAAMP volunteers contribute their time to help states and USGS to assess frog and toad population trends. Data are collected using a calling survey technique, in which volunteers identify local amphibian species by their unique breeding vocalizations or calls.

Volunteers must be willing to learn the survey protocols and how to identify frogs and toad by their calls. Some states require volunteers to attend a training session. Once volunteers have learned to identify frog and toad calls, they take the on-line Frog Quiz to document their frog call identification ability.


Invasive Species Focused:


iMap Invasives:

The iMapInvasives Partnership facilitates the management and sharing of invasive species information, including extent of infestations, search efforts, and treatment outcomes. Affordable, sustainable, and collaborative tools developed by the Partnership provide a flexible platform for aggregating invasive species data from a wide variety of sources. 



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