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Celebrate Citizen Science Day - April 14 - May 20!

by Amy Jankowski on 2017-04-14T16:13:20-06:00 in Environment, Data, CSEL, Physics & Astronomy, Earth & Planetary Science, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Geography

Get excited: Friday, April 14 kicks of Citizen Science Day for its second annual celebration! Even more exciting, the name of the event is a bit misleading, as Citizen Science Day actually runs for five weeks from April 14 through May 20, 2017, encompassing hundreds of participatory science initiatives planned virtually and in person around the country. Whether you study in the sciences or not, this is a great opportunity for anyone to contribute to real scientific projects and learn more about a diverse array of research initiatives you have the potential to impact in a few minutes of your spare time.

Citizen Science is defined by the Citizen Science Association as “the involvement of the public in scientific research – whether community-driven research or global investigations.” It describes a method of participatory research by which scientific research teams can uniquely gather and analyze information through the collective efforts of public engagement. Consider spending a bit of time exploring citizen science opportunities to find a project that piques your curiosity. Contributing can be addicting! It may also give you some ideas for how you could use citizen science concepts in your own studies or research.


Browse collections of Citizen Science projects on these platforms (but keep in mind that there are many more out there) :

  • SciStarter – A database of virtual and in-person projects to which the public may contribute. SciS​Zooniverse Platformtarter sponsors Citizen Science Day in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association.
  • Zooniverse – A platform hosting more than 50 web-based citizen science projects in biology, climate, medicine, physics, astronomy, social science, the arts, and humanities.
  • NASA Citizen Scientists – Contribute to data collection for a range of NASA initiatives encompassing earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.
  • Citizen Science Centers – A blog and newsletter provide summaries highlighting great citizen science projects around the world.




A few neat online projects to consider, though these are just a drop in the bucket of what is available! :

  • Celebrate Urban Birds – Submit bird observation data from around Albuquerque or other urban areas; developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
  • Cities at Night – Help NASA identify night-time photographs of the earth taken by scientists onboard the International Space Station; this project aims to create a comprehensive map of the earth at night. A new game is in development on the site to make this process even more fun!
  • iNaturalist – Report your observations of any plant or animal species in the world through your computer or a handy user-friendly app on your mobile device; hosted by the California Academy of Sciences.
  • Nature’s Notebook – Record your observations of plants and animals to help generate long-term data sets; a collaboration between the USFWS and USA-NPN
  • Old Weather – Transcribe weather observation data from digitized 19th century ships’ logs to contribute to scientific efforts to recover historical Arctic and worldwide weather data.
  • Quantum Moves – Contribute to cutting-edge physics research by playing this game on your favorite device! You play the game to find innovative ways to manipulate/move atoms, which will help physicists build a quantum computer.
  • SETI@home – Use the spare computing power on your computer to help scientists in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI); a long-running experiment launched in 1999 and based at UC Berkeley.
  • BudBurst – Contribute to the ecological record by reporting timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting phases of plants around the US or internationally; supported by the Chicago Botanic Garden.
  • EarthEcho Water Challenge (formerly World Water Monitoring Challenge) -- Purchase a water test kit, test your local water quality supply, and share your results through this international database, which currently represents the contributes from citizens of over 120 countries.


New Mexico hosts several in-person citizen science initiatives at various times during the year. Visit the following sites to learn how you can get involved:

  • ABQ BioPark – Learn about the BioPark’s seasonal Great Backyard Bird Count and Frog Watch opportunities
  • Hawks Aloft – Contribute to the annual raptor nest survey project in the Rio Grande Bosque and nearby locations


Curious about whether your research may benefit from Citizen Science?  Learn more through books in the library:










Want to learn even more? Consider using library databases to search for research articles and other resources on the topic of citizen science. A Google Scholar search for “citizen science” (in quotes indicating the two words as a phrase) brings more than 29,000 results! Remember, you can always contact your Subject Librarian for research help.

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