Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Anyone can be a citizen scientist! Citizen science (a.k.a community science) collects data from volunteers, students, and professional scientists for scientific analysis, providing critical data, enhancing community engagement, and contributing to research.
For example, researchers at Cornell started the Lost Ladybug Project in 2000 because they were worried the nine-spotted ladybug (New York State's official insect), was going extinct. A major discovery came in 2006 when Jilene (then 11 years old) and Jonathan (then 10 years old) Penhale found a rare nine-spotted ladybug (Coccinella novemnotata) near their home in Virginia. This was the first nine-spotted ladybug seen in the eastern U.S. in 14 years!
Below are some fun ways people of all ages can get involved in citizen science:
Turn your phone into a data collecting portal using iNaturalist.
Track everything from birds to lilacs with Thirteen.
Help research, educate, and advocate for marine animals returning to NYC waterways.
Lists citizen science projects available in each borough.
Track birds right in your own backyard.
Lists current and former citizen science projects worldwide.
The NYCDOE Department of STEM's Citizen Science program connects middle school teachers and students to ongoing Citizen Science 'research missions' with different science-focused partner organizations across New York City. Projects take place over each school year, so check back in early August for more info on the 2020-2021 school year.
Map and ID trees in your neighborhood with NYC Parks. The NYU Wallerstein Collective has also prepared this lesson plan using the NYC Parks Tree Mapping project for students in grades 3-12.
Guides to Starting Your Own Citizen Science Projects