Citizen Science

Science Center Objects

Citizen science — scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, usually in collaboration with scientific institutions — is a grassroots approach to natural science. It educates and engages the public by encouraging ordinary citizens to use their interests and their talents in tackling a wide range of real-world problems. 

More information about the Status and Trends program Citizen Science is available from  the "Related Science" tab on the top navigation or from the links below.


Citizen Scientists monitoring Avian populations in the Gulf Coast National Parks
Bird Counts: Birds are monitored annually to provide long-term assessment of bird populations.(Public domain.)

North American Breeding Bird Survey 

Science Center: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Following a rigorous protocol, breeding bird survey data are collected by thousands of dedicated participants along thousands of randomly established roadside routes throughout the continent. Professional breeding bird survey coordinators and data managers work closely with researchers and statisticians to compile and deliver these population data and population trend analyses on more than 400 bird species, for use by conservation managers, scientists, and the general public.

► Find out more about the North American bird breeding survey

North American Bird Phenology Program Citizen Scientist
Citizens taking part in the North American bird phenology program (Public domain.)


Image: USA-NPN Citizen-Scientist Lucille Tower
USA-National Phenology Network citizen-scientist Lucille Tower records the one millionth observation on maple vine in the large nature database.(Credit: No name provided, USGS. Public domain.)

North American Bird Phenology Program

Science Center: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

The North American Bird Phenology Program (BPP) houses a data set of 6 million historical observations of over 800 bird species, documenting occurrences and migration times from the 1880s through the 1970s -- the longest and most comprehensive legacy data set on bird migration in existence. In an effort to rescue this invaluable data set, the BPP has scanned and are in the process of transcribing the records with the help of a network of online volunteers. 

► Find out more about the BPP


Monitoring Birds in National Parks of the Gulf Coast Network

Science Center: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Avian monitoring within the Gulf Coast Network of the National Park Service is challenged to provide valid quantitative data on bird populations within park boundaries with limited financial input. Thus, citizen science (volunteer) bird monitoring has been proposed to achieve reliable estimates of bird populations and to assess the effects of habitat change and temporal dynamics of bird populations.

► Find out more about monitoring birds of the gulf coast network



Science Center: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK)

ScienceCache is a scientific geocaching mobile application framework.  By melding training and games into the hunt for place-based data collection sites, and incorporating photo uploads as data or for authentication, new volunteers can collaborate in robust data collection. As a volunteer, simply download the ScienceCache app, choose a route, and then follow the directions to collect data.  

► Find out more about ScienceCache


National Phenology Network: Nature's Notebook

Nature's Notebook is a national, online program where amateur and professional naturalists regularly record observations of plants and animals to generate long-term data sets used for scientific discovery and decision-making.

► Find out more about Nature's Notebook



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