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Sep. 14, 2012

Record Breaking Planet

by Lisa Gardiner

Climate is defined as an average of thirty years of weather data. It is the norm, the average, what’s expected. When our planet’s climate veers from what’s expected, when a record is set, the question is – why?

climate change, sea ice, record temperatures, global warming, sea ice
Sep. 13, 2012

Sea Ice and Heat: A Vicious Cycle

by Lisa Gardiner

You can make a simple model that shows how the color of ice and water impacts temperature.

sea ice, climate change, global warming, arctic, hands-on activity, albedo, solar radiation,
Sep. 11, 2012

See Ya, Sea Ice.

by Lisa Gardiner

This autumn, new records are being set for the minimum amount of sea ice in the Arctic. On August 26, the extent of ice diminished to less than it has ever been -- at least in the 30 years we've been watching it with satellites.

climate change, arctic, sea ice, global warming, arctic ocean, arctic ice melt
Sep. 16, 2011

Fall into Citizen Science - Watch a Plant!

by Lisa Gardiner

Plants have a lot going on as autumn temperatures cool. Some leaves turn bright yellow or red and fall from trees. Fruits grow large and ripe. Grasses become brittle and brown. Some flowers, like California poppies, bloom in the autumn too.Project BudBurst is looking for volunteers to take note of what plants are doing as the seasons change. During the “Fall into Phenology” event volunteers around the country will be heading outside between September 17 and 26 to collect data about how plants respond to changes in their environment.

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, autumn, citizen science, fall, foliage, phenology, plants, Project BudBurst, seasons
Feb. 21, 2012

Who’s the Boss: Home or Human Microbiomes?

by Lisa Gardiner

Daniel Smith and his colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory are looking for volunteers who are about to move to a different house to join the Home Microbiome Study. They will be asked to collect samples every other day for six weeks to monitor how microbiomes of themselves and their house change in response to one another. This data will provide valuable information on how stable our microbiomes are, and whether our microbiomes colonize our house… or our house’s microbiome colonizes us!

Citizen Science Buzz, Argonne National Lab, bacteria, biology, home, microbiota
Feb. 01, 2012

Taking Science to Heart: Spot Defibrillators in Philadelphia and Perhaps You Will Win!

by Lisa Gardiner

Are you in the Philadelphia area? If so, you'll want to know about the new citizen science project: MyHeartMap Challenge! The project, a contest, is getting the public involved to make the first-of-its-kind map of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Philadelphia. (And it's almost Valentine's Day so perhaps hearts are on your mind!)

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, citizen science, heart disease, Map, Medicine, participate, Philadelphia, photo, scistarter
Jan. 21, 2012

Six Ways to Study England’s Natural Environment

by Lisa Gardiner

From searching for invertebrates to measuring wind speed, everyone can gain new knowledge and skills and play their part in protecting the natural environment. This is the philosophy of Open Air Laboratories (OPAL), a project based in England that encourages the public to explore their surroundings, record their findings, and submit their results to the OPAL national database making their contribution available to scientists and others involved in environmental science and policy.

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, air, atmosphere, biodiversity, citizen scinece, climate, earthworms, england, insects, nature, OPAL, water
Nov. 01, 2011

Hunting for Bugs at BioBlitz

by Lisa Gardiner

During Insect Discovery Tours -- part of the BioBlitz event -- elementary, middle and high school students, scientists, chaperones, and naturalists roamed areas of Saguaro National Park in small groups to hunt for insects. The scientists and naturalists worked with the students to identify the insects they found. To get a closer look, insects were sometimes coaxed into small magnifying boxes.

Citizen Science Buzz, Arizona, BioBlitz, Cara Gibson, citizen science, Ecology, Hiking, insects, K-12 students, National Geographic, National park service, Naturalists, Saguaro National Park, science education, Scientists, University of Arizona
Oct. 12, 2011

Citizen Science: The Animated Movie

by Lisa Gardiner

There should be more animated movies about citizen science, don’t you think? Thankfully, the people at a weather-focused citizen science project called the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow project (known by the funny acronym CoCoRaHS) have made this video! It tells the story of how the project started and explains how people all over the country are getting involved. Watch and find out how you can become a CoCoRaHS volunteer too!

Citizen Science Buzz, animation, cartoon, citizen science, CoCoRaHS, hail, rain, snow, Video, weather
Sep. 14, 2011

Get Your Feet Wet on World Water Monitoring Day!

by Lisa Gardiner

How do you know if water is clean enough to drink? How do you know if it's clean enough to for swimming or safe for animals? On September 18, 2011 people around the world will be taking a closer look at their local waterways during World Water Monitoring Day. Join in the project and help figure out whether the freshwater near you is clean.

Citizen Science Buzz, chemistry, citizen science, environment, International Water Association, lake, pond, river, stream, water, Water Environment Foundation, watershed, World Water Monitoring Day
Aug. 22, 2011

Tracking the Wild Horseshoe Crabs of New York

by Lisa Gardiner

On June 1, 2011 at 11:51 PM, a group of people assembled on the beach in Northpoint, New York. There was no moon shining that night, not even a sliver. The people carried flashlights or wore headlamps. They held clipboards and paper. Their mission: to report where horseshoe crabs were spotted along the beach.

Citizen Science Buzz, Beach, citizen science, Ecology, ecosystem, eggs, environmental, horseshoe crab, marine, monitoring, New York, New York Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network, ocean, Science Friday, spawning
Jul. 27, 2011

Citizen Paleontologists

by Lisa Gardiner

During the last Ice Age, mammoths and mastodons roamed Florida. Today, fossil hunters like James Kennedy of Vero Beach, Florida find their bones. “I'm not a scientist,” said James in a recent interview for National Public Radio. “I just go out and dig up bones good. I'm good at finding them." But I’d contend that James is a scientist – a citizen scientist. Many people collect fossils. I like to think of these fossil hunters as “citizen paleontologists” and they can play important roles in scientific discovery.

Citizen Science Buzz, art, citizen science, Cornell, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, dog, earth history, earth science, Florida, fossil, high school, Ice age, mammoth, mastodon, middle school, Museum of the Earth, National Public Radio, paleontology
Jul. 08, 2011

Albedo Project Results Are In!

by Lisa Gardiner

Did you take a photo of white paper on the ground June 21 for the Albedo Project? Whether or not you participated, you can now take a look at the data at the Albedo Project website. Locations of all the photos are shown on a Google Map. Zoom in to find your data point. And if you’d like to peruse the photos of white paper, you can find them in Flickr. Photos were sent in from over 30 US states and 11 countries, pointing out that projects like this would not happen without participation by photo-snapping volunteers!

Citizen Science Buzz, albedo, citizen science, climate, earth science, high school, IPY, results, Science, University of Massachusetts
Jul. 06, 2011

Spotting Fireflies for Science

by Lisa Gardiner

The Firefly Watch project gets the public involved collecting data about where fireflies are found. If you live east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and have ten minutes a week to look for fireflies in the evening, consider signing up as a volunteer.

Citizen Science Buzz, beetles, biology, Boston, bugs, citizen science, data, Ecology, environment, fertilizer, Fireflies, Firefly Watch, insects, light polution, Museum of Science, Pesticides, Science, summer, Tufts University, volunteer
Jun. 30, 2011

Beyond Gloom and Doom: Young Citizen Scientists Address Climate Change

by Lisa Gardiner

It is becoming more apparent that people of all ages want to learn more than just the facts about climate change—they want to know what they can DO to address this problem.

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, biology, birds, citizen science, climate, climate change, Cornell, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, global warming, Informal education, Ithaca, middle school, NestWatch, Science
Jun. 15, 2011

Snap a Photo and Help Measure Earth's Albedo

by Lisa Gardiner

For three years Dr. Kathleen Gorski and her high school students at Wilbraham and Monson Academy near Springfield, MA have been snapping pictures of white paper and using them to measure albedo by comparing the white paper to the surrounding ground surface. Now they are opening the project up to anyone who would like to participate!

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, activities, albedo, citizen science, climate change, environment, hands on activity, photography, Science
May. 27, 2011

Citizen Science Highlights on Scientific American

by Lisa Gardiner

Scientific American has been bringing science to people for over 160 years. Now the magazine is bringing people to science through a new online listing of citizen science opportunities. Early this month, Scientific American Online launched a Citizen Science section of the web site. This is part of a larger Education effort, which includes a number of science activities called Bring Science Home.

Citizen Science Buzz, citizen science, education, hands on activity, public participation in science, research, Science, scientific american, volunteer
May. 24, 2011

Divers Help Quell the Roar of Invasive Lionfish

by Lisa Gardiner

It seems strange to mark the location of a fish, doesn’t it? They can swim and move away from the marker, right? I wonder while standing on a dock waiting for the boat that will take about ten of us out to a reef. There, we will scuba dive for fun and also mark the locations of lionfish, an invasive species in the Caribbean. Volunteer divers on the Dutch island of Bonaire are helping Bonaire National Marine Park eliminate invasive lionfish from its coral reefs by marking the locations where the fish are found. A diver who spots a lionfish is instructed to attach a small flag, provided by the park, to a rock near the fish.

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, animals, biology, Bonaire, Bonaire National Marine Park, Caribbean, citizen science, conservation, Coral, Ecology, environment, fish, Invasive species, Lionfish, marine, nature, ocean, Reef, Science
May. 05, 2011

Citizen Scientists Weathered the Tornado Outbreak

by Lisa Gardiner

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a citizen science project that gets people all over the country reporting the amount of precipitation that falls where they live, offered a unique on-the-ground perspective about the devastating thunderstorms and tornadoes that struck the southeast United States on April 27 and the morning of April 28, 2011.

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, atmosphere, citizen science, CoCoRaHS, environment, hail, meteorology, NOAA, rain, southeast, storm, Storm Prediction Center, Thunderstorms, tornado, weather, wind
Apr. 21, 2011

An Oily Year for Citizen Scientists on the Gulf Coast

by Lisa Gardiner

When the explosion happened at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, we didn’t know exactly how much oil would eventually leak into the ocean and that, a year after the spill, there are still so many questions about how to restore the region. While there are many different perspectives on the effects of the spill to Gulf Coast residents, the marine ecosystem, and coastal wildlife, it is clear that it is going to take a long time for the area to recover fully. While there is a lot to make us feel blue about the situation in the Gulf, there are also thousands of people who are making a positive difference, people who, over the past year, have volunteered their time to help.

Citizen Science Buzz, animals, birds, citizen science, coastal, earth day, Ecology, environment, gulf of mexico, marine, ocean, oil, oil spill, Science, water, wildlife
Apr. 13, 2011

Stop and Smell the Flowers. Then Report the Data.

by Lisa Gardiner

The apple tree in my backyard has been under surveillance for several weeks. In March it was an unassuming mass of brown twigs amidst late winter snow. Then those twigs started to have swollen buds. More recently, green leaves appeared. Now, as evidenced by this photo, there are tightly huddled pink petals amidst the leaves. Any day, I suspect flowers. My apple tree isn’t the only one under surveillance. It’s in good company -- one of thousands of plants around the United States that are monitored through the seasons with Project BudBurst.

Citizen Science Buzz, Science, budburst, citizen science, climate change, Ecology, flowers, global warming, Mobile App, nature, phenology, plants, Project BudBurst, spring
Mar. 23, 2011

Science for the Birds

by Lisa Gardiner

When we set out for our short birding expedition in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, I had no idea that we would spot over 50 birds representing eighteen different species. We were at a workshop of teachers, and we were on a quest to find birds and then report our findings through eBird, a citizen science project run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. That day, we were on-the-ground bird reporters, helping scientists understand which species of birds are where and how environmental changes are affecting our feathered friends.

Citizen Science Buzz, animals, birds, BirdSleuth, California Academy of Sciences, citizen science, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, curriculum, eBird, Ecology, environment, ornithology, public participation in science, San Francisco, science education
Mar. 18, 2011

How does our planet work? Roll up your sleeves and help scientists find out!

by Lisa Gardiner

There’s a lot going on in my backyard. Small green leaves are emerging in the garden. Squirrels are running along the top of the fence. Birds are filling the peach tree with song. That’s what I saw this morning. To me, these are the amusing natural antics found in my quasi-urban backyard. But my observations can be something else too –- scientific data! People all over the country and all over the world are getting involved with scientific research by collecting data about the plants, animals, weather and water resources in their backyards, urban parks, natural areas and farms. And you can too!

Citizen Science Buzz, animals, biology, botany, citizen science, climate change, community science, Ecology, environment, nature, public participation in science, research, Science

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