Citizen science projects for all ages
Are you a citizen? Do you love science? Citizen science experiments allow qualified researchers to leverage observations from the greater community and gather data more efficiently. The term citizen science has become popular with the development high-profile projects like Foldit, a game designed to identify protein strains, but citizen science actually has a storied history dating back to Ornithologists in the 1800s.
Australian universities and organisations like the CSIRO actively promote new citizen science projects to volunteers, including students, teachers and amateur scientists. Here are a few of our favourites you can join right now!
Do birds of a feather really flock together? Find out with Birdlife Australia who facilitate the Aussie Backyard Bird Count each October in an effort to conserve our dwindling bird species. This all ages experiment is as simple as spending 20 minutes standing or sitting in one spot and noting down the birds that you see. Don’t feel restricted to the backyard, you can take part anywhere including local parks, the beach, or streets in your town. Download the app or learn more at the Birdlife Australia website.
If you prefer amphibians over avian species why not try some casual frog spotting. FrogID is a national citizen science project led by the Australian Museum that encourages participants to submit frog data via a mobile app. What kind of frog data you ask? Audio recordings of frog calls in your local area can be recorded then assessed by frog experts for species identification purposes. You can check out previous findings and download the app at https://www.frogid.net.au/
ClimateWatch is another citizen science project running all year round, and studies the periodic plant and animal life cycle events and the influence of climate variations. You can participate on your own, or in school/university groups and access lesson plans and activities that align with the national science curriculum. Not only will you be learning, you’ll be contributing to meaningful data sets used to combat climate change in Australia. Learn more over at https://www.climatewatch.org.au/get-involved/land
Bio blitzing frequently takes place all over Australia in order to survey living species within designated areas with the aim to help scientists better understand living organisms all over the country. A number of organisations help run these events including Nature Play QLD which is currently running a blitz until the end of this year. Joining is easy, and all you need to do is take photos of living things in your area. Get started with Nature Play right now.
Consider yourself spy material? Think you could decode journals that are over 150 yeas old? You can help create Australias longest daily weather by transcribing old weather journals. Guided by Climate History Australia’s simple to follow workflows put yourself to the test and head over to the project page to start deciphering.
If you know any other great citizen science projects, we’d love to hear! Please send recommendations or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.