Are you concerned about the environment, attracted to weather or a lover of maps? Make your move to help science on April 14th #CitSciDay2018! NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is highlighting some of the best citizen science projects to prep for the big day. You can help crowdsource earth’s magnetic fields, review underwater video from research cruises, analyze hurricane satellite data, upload weather observations, train to be a “Storm Spotter” and more. Some programs only require a few minutes, so that leftover time during your lunch break can make an impact.
Another great source for citizen science is Zooniverse. This site has vast projects including arts, science, space, social science, literature and even medicine. I highly recommend signing up just to get their newsletters, which highlight the latest projects. One new project is Amazo’N’Oil which uses trail cam footage to look at animals in the Peruvian Amazon which may be ingesting oil from spills. Zooniverse has had some amazing moments with citizen scientists being honored for discoveries for NASA and other important groups, so know that this work has real meaning. Also, the software is open source and can be used by other organizations to set up projects. So, you can either participate in an existing project or start your own.
Finally, if you like open source hardware and DIY techniques for helping people to explore environmental issues, you should check out Public Lab. I’ve attended a few of their Barnraisings across the country to learn about problems faced by communities and to create solutions. One of my favorite activities is aerial photography done with balloons and kites, but I also enjoy the Riffle environmental monitor, which is Arduino based. The best part is the organization is a network of people around the world coming from different backgrounds, so it’s like gathering the Guardians of the Galaxy with super-powers like biology, sociology, engineering, art, gardening and web dev. Their site features research and experiments as well as an area for questions. So, don’t let April 14th pass you by when all of these experiences are waiting. You don’t need to be a scientist to contribute; you just need to care. Share your #CitSciDay2018 @Adafruit!