Countdown to Earth Day: NOAA unlocks citizen science ‘project of the day’
April is Citizen Science Month! In celebration, we will be highlighting one citizen science project from NOAA and our partners from now until Earth Day on April 22.
Whether trekking out to local beaches to count horseshoe crabs under a full moon or measuring Earth’s magnetic field from a smartphone, citizen scientists support NOAA’s mission while learning more about the world around them.
#7 Revealed on April 14, 2021!
#6 Revealed on April 15, 2021!
#5 Revealed on April 16, 2021!
#4 Revealed on April 19, 2021!
#3 Revealed on April 20, 2021!
#2 Revealed on April 21, 2021!
#1 Revealed on April 22, 2021!
Looking for more? You can search the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Catalog for projects that interest you.
April 13, 2021
Arguably one of the largest citizen science programs (with over 20,000 current active volunteers!), the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow networkoffsite link (CoCoRaHS) originated from the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in 1998. The dedicated CoCoRaHS volunteers have submitted over 50 million daily precipitation observations using standardized manual rain gages mounted in their backyards, workplaces, schools or community centers. In addition to precipitation data, environmental conditionoffsite link data on soil, plants, water bodies and wildlife are also collected in the CoCoRaHS database. With years of historical data from all 50 states, the observations are important in informing local weather and environmental conditions.
April 12, 2021
FISHstoryoffsite link is a pilot citizen science project for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council that gathers catch composition and length data from historic fishing photos from the 1940s-1970s in Daytona Beach, Florida. Volunteers are trained to identify and count fish in the dock photos using an online crowdsourcing platformoffsite link. Since launching in May 2020, over 1,930 volunteers have participated in the project making 32,501 fish identifications! Follow along with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council on social media as they highlight the incredible volunteers that help power their citizen science program.
April 9, 2021
The Channel Islands Naturalist Corps is a group of citizen scientists trained by NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park staff. These volunteers use an app to record near-real time weather conditions and marine mammal sightings while onboard local whale watch vessels in the Santa Barbara Channel. These data serve as important resources to track whales that are entangled or near shipping lanes where they are at risk of ship strikes. You can download the Whale Alert app to report your whale sightings to this project.
April 8, 2021
Based in New York, the Hudson River Eels project involves hundreds of volunteers that come together each spring to monitor the annual migration of juvenile American eels as they move from the Atlantic Ocean into the Hudson River. The volunteers catch eels using specialty nets and carefully weigh them before releasing them upstream. Volunteers recently collected the 1 millionth eel since the project began in 2008, a major milestone! Check out the program’s online resources including virtual classroom presentations and new informational videos about the project.
#12 Collect fishery sustainability data with the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program
April 7, 2021
Since 2007, California Collaborative Fisheries Research Programoffsite link has worked with local charter boats and numerous volunteer anglers to monitor central California Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The 1,730 volunteers throughout California are combining their expertise to collect vital fishery data and establish sustainability protocols for MPA management. Volunteeroffsite link with the project, watch program highlight videosoffsite link, and join their 2021 workshops!
April 6, 2021
Marine weather observations have been logged on naval ships since the 1850’s. The Old Weather WWIIoffsite link citizen science project works to recover hidden marine weather data recorded in the U.S. Navy ships' logbooks during World War II. Currently 1,700 volunteers are working virtually to record these entries, which will inform climate science models while also shining a new light on the dedicated work of thousands of service members who collected these observations during this pivotal time in our nation's history.
April 5, 2021
Horseshoe crabs have been around for millions of years and can often be found on our shorelines ranging from Maine to the The Gulf of Mexico. These impressive organisms are the focus of the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watchoffsite link. Volunteers are trained to count, measure, weigh, and tag horseshoe crabs, and the data are contributed to a United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s mark-recapture program along the Atlantic Coast. Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch beach surveys are currently underway through May 2021 during the full and new moon when horseshoe crabs come to shore to mate.
April 2, 2021
In an average year, the United States can experience thousands of floods and severe storms that impact local communities. SKYWARN is a national citizen science program that trains volunteers to spot severe weather events and report them to the National Weather Service. With over 350,000 trained spotters, the volunteers provide essential information for all types of weather hazards in order to help protect others in their community. Learn how to become a SKYWARN spotteroffsite link!
About citizen science at NOAA
NOAA has a rich tradition of engaging citizen science volunteers, and we thank them for helping us solve the challenges we face through the power of the crowd! NOAA has identified citizen science as a Science and Technology Focus Area and has developed a new Citizen Science Strategy to inspire and engage citizen scientists around the world.
“Citizen science allows NOAA to engage the American public, address societal needs and accelerate science, technology, and innovation," says Louisa Koch, Director of Education. “We are grateful to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who are the heart of these efforts.”