Community Science projects (formerly called citizen science) engage volunteers in collecting data for authentic, real-world research. These projects "crowdsource" information that scientists would not otherwise be able to collect in the quantity or geographic distribution needed. Most community science projects display the data submitted on a map, so you can see how your efforts contribute to the larger research work. Some projects require volunteers to analyze results, conduct experiments, or identify species, while others only require observation and reporting. Many community science projects get volunteers out in nature to make observations and collect data, though others are completed online by analyzing images or manipulating models.
In addition to helping research scientists, community science projects can identify problems that volunteers then help solve. Does your data show an increase in stream bank litter from fast food packaging? Brainstorm solutions! Has a particular native species been harder to find over the years? Learn about its decline and design a schoolyard solution! Need a better device to catch critters for observation? Invent one! The environmental stewardship and engineering design projects that spring from community science projects are exciting and empowering for students and all who want to make a difference in the world.
Community Science Presentation from 2020 NAAEE Conference
Learn more about community science projects and how they can make learning more relevant, real world, culturally responsive and meaningful. Check out the session that EEA Board Member Jennifer McCoy and Executive Director Karan Wood presented at the NAAEE conference on October 16, 2020.