(also referred to as Community Science)
As scientists find ways to solve important, global issues, it has become increasingly apparent that scientists alone cannot cover every detail involved in scientific research. Enter Citizen Science: a collaboration between scientists and everyday people who are just curious or concerned and motivated to make a difference in our world.
What is Citizen Science?
Citizen science involves participants from all walks of life and all ages (depending on the project). Because of this, there is so much to offer youth and educators in regards to making STEM learning accessible, relevant, and meaningful.
There are four common features of citizen science practice: 1) anyone can participate, 2) participants use the same protocol so data can be combined and be high quality, 3) data can help real scientists come to real conclusions and 4) a wide community of scientists and volunteers work together and share data to which the public, as well as scientists, have access.
How can you get involved?
There are a number of citizen science projects that cover a vast array of fields including: ecology, astronomy, medicine, computer science, statistics, psychology, genetics, engineering and many more. Each project differs in the amount of time that participants commit to the project, and the method to which citizen scientists conduct the research varies. Projects can be hands-on (in person) and/or digital (remote).
Resources for Citizen Science Projects:
Insights’ Citizen Science, Civics, and Resilient Communities (CSCRC) Project:
Through funding awarded by NOAA and in partnership with the Museum of Science, the CSCRC project will study the impacts of extreme heat through citizen science in the El Paso region. This project is set to start in April 2021.
City Nature Challenge
An international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. Participate in El Paso’s 2021 City Nature Challenge [here]
One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Learn more [here]
A globally acclaimed, online citizen science hub where more than 3,000 projects, searchable by location, topic, age level, etc, have been registered by individual project leaders or imported through partnerships with federal governments, NGOs, and universities.