Citizen Science

Citizen science entails sharing and summarizing observations made by amateur naturalists. Having many “eyes and ears” studying nature helps advance our understanding of species distributions and trends, supporting their conservation. For example, the best information available on long-term changes in bird populations comes from the Breeding Bird Survey, which is entirely based on contributions from amateur birders. Taking part in citizen science programs is also a great way to get out and experience nature.

New smartphone apps make it easy for everyone to participate and, consequently, there has been tremendous growth in the citizen science community over the past few years. On eBird alone, there have been over 80 million checklists submitted to date, recording more than one billion bird observations.

If you are new to citizen science, be sure to look through our Getting Started materials, below. Here you will find a general introduction to citizen science as well as tutorials for eBird and iNaturalist, the two largest projects. Once you’ve become oriented you can look for a project that aligns with your interests and get involved. We’ve organized the available projects into taxonomic groups — there is something here for everyone.

Getting Started

Bird Projects

Mammal Projects

Amphibian & Reptile Projects

Insect Projects

Plant & Fungi Projects

General Biodiversity Projects

Aquatic Projects

Citizen Science News

We're adding new posts all the time, but don't have any in the Citizen Science category yet. Have an article to submit? Contact our editor! In the meantime, why not search for something else to read?