Did you know snapping mountain-top photos of smog and listening for frog calls can help scientists? Get ideas for how you can participate in citizen science—projects in which volunteers and scientists work together to answer real-world questions and gather data. Check out two of National Geographic's preeminent citizen science projects: the Great Nature Project and FieldScope.
More Ideas Like This
Survey Monarch Populations
Help the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project collect long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed. Volunteer to conduct surveys in your local area.
Observe Appalachian Flowers
Monitor the timing of plant flowering in the Appalachian Mountains as you hike trails. The Appalachian Mountain Club will use the data as part of a study to understand how changes in climate are affecting mountain flora.
The Horsehoe Count
Join The Horseshoe Count, a survey that gets volunteers to count horseshoe crabs during spawning season at beaches in Delaware and New Jersey.
Join the Great Nature Project
Photograph plants and animals. Then log in to the Great Nature Project to upload your photos and add them to a global database of biodiversity. National Geographic and a community of citizen scientists are creating this database as a way to document existing biodiversity and monitor changes in the future.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Love the water and being outside? Get in touch with your state’s local water resource office to find out how your class can volunteer for various projects like tree-planting or oyster-growing. Even if your class cannot do something hands-on, they can promise to take action signing the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint pledge, or something similar for your area.
Observe Plant Life Cycles
Join Project BudBurst to gather environmental and climate change information in your local area. Observe the life cycles of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses to see when they have their first leafing, first flower, and first fruit ripening.
Do what a computer can't! Join the Galaxy Zoo project to help scientists classify galaxies according to their shapes.
Photograph Living Things
Take photos of living things. Upload the photographs to the citizen science site iNaturalist. If you know what the living thing is, you can suggest a species identification. Or you can ask for help in identifying it. People in the iNaturalist community will suggest identifications.