Citizen Science projects are a great way to learn more about local plants, animals, and ecosystems, including ones in your own backyard. By becoming a citizen scientist, you are contributing data to important scientific investigations that would not be possible without your help and the help of thousands of other citizen scientists. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s open to citizens of all ages. Here are just a few you could help out with. We will highlight a new project once a month, so stop back and check it out.
Lost Ladybug Project
Lost Ladybug Project. The folks at Lost Ladybug are trying to document how the population sizes and ranges of the 500 different species of ladybugs found in the United Sates are changing. How you can help: see a ladybug, take a picture of it, submit it with data regarding when and where you saw it.
Bumblebee Watch. Similar to Lost Ladybug, the folks at Bumblebee Watch are working to see what’s going on with the 46 different species of bumblebee in North America. How you can help: see a bumblebee, take a picture of it, submit it with data regarding when and where you saw it. They would like you to identify it (and provide help to do this), but it’s not a requirement to be a bumblebee citizen scientist. It’s a bit more challenging than being a ladybug citizen scientist because bumblebees move faster than ladybugs!
Project BudBurst. The good folks at Project Budburst are looking at how climate change is affected when plants leaf out, flower, and produce fruit. How can you help: sign up, pick a plant they want data on (including forsythia, everyone has a forsythia), and record when you saw the first leaf and the first flower. Pretty easy, but very important.
Never Home Alone
This project aims to document the species that live indoors with humans, including but not exclusive to arthropods No one is ever really home alone. With this new iNaturalist project scientists now seek your help in recording the species in homes around the world. They suspect that in boldly studying basements, bedrooms and bathrooms that together we can make big new discoveries even before we open the front door.