Citizen Science is Sound Science Provided by You

Have you ever seen a cool bird in your backyard and wondered if there was some way to share what you saw with others? Better yet, have you thought about sharing your observations and having them used to help study and conserve those birds? These thoughts are an indicator that you might have the makings of a great citizen scientist.

The U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service are engaged in a wide variety of citizen science projects that encourage public involvement in natural and cultural resource science and conservation. Volunteers can contribute by forming research questions, collecting and analyzing data, or interpreting results. If you have a sense of wonder and discovery, citizen science may be for you.

Citizen science can help in conservation and protecting natural resources in two ways: increasing scientific knowledge just like conventional research; and creating a conversation about scientific information and policy and to encourage public input and action.

Many scientific projects would be difficult to research without the help of volunteers because of their size, complexity, or cost. Volunteers can contribute in many ways including helping to track patterns in space and time of one or more parts of the ecosystem, or in the discovery of species or important cultural resources. At the same time, getting local communities engaged in projects can increase the relevancy of scientific research locally and can foster environmental stewardship. It can also build a better understanding between the community, scientists and decision makers about social aspects in environmental issues.

I have been involved in a citizen science project at Great Smoky Mountains National Park the past two years. It has been a rewarding experience, one where I feel my individual piece is contributing to a greater whole.

Learn more here…

 

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