Leave it to PBS to get the right content that the world needs to see right now. According to GeekWire, public television is launching The Crowd and the Cloud, a show focusing on citizen science initiatives around the globe. I already recognize some stars I’ve blogged about in the past like EyesOnALZ, PhillyUnleaded and Public Lab. There’s also the bonus that the show is hosted by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, who has done a ton of research on Earth’s ice cover. The four-part series will cover exciting work dealing with oil spills, air quality, Zika and other challenges. It premieres April 6th on the World Channel, but if you want to check it out now, you can view episodes on their site or YouTube.
The show does a great job of linking environmental issues with their effects on communities, and showing the many ways science can help. Nowadays citizen science can include creating field reports on a phone app, participating in a web based gamification of data analysis or building open source hardware monitors. After people get excited about the many forms of research, the show’s website provides additional information like interviews with key citizen scientists as well as ways to participate. I think this is going to be a real game-changer for people that have never encountered these types of projects, or for those that think they need a degree or special equipment to participate. If you would like to take the first step into citizen science, check out our learning guide for the Trinket Temperature and Humidity LCD Display. This is a great beginner’s project that will give you environmental data for your favorite room (or outdoor area if you place it in a waterproof container). So, get your DHT sensor on and report back to us with the results!