What is Citizen Science?

Hi everyone,

Before this week, it had been many years since I'd attended a scientific conference.  Nowadays, the conferences I typically attend are definitely geared toward educators.  However, I've just returned from the Northeast Bird Conservation conference, which was held in Plymouth, MA.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to get inspired about science from some of the best bird and conservation biologists in the region.  It was also a fantastic opportunity to share BirdSleuth with these scientists, who seemed hungry to learn about ways to communicate their work and help inspire ALL people to care about birds and their conservation.

I'm as convinced as ever that getting kids and families involved in citizen science projects, such as Project FeederWatch and eBird is an ideal way to meaningfully teach science, support awareness and stewardship of birds and habitats, and contribute to our understanding of birds around the world.

What exactly is "citizen science?" Essentially, it is when public participants are involved in scientific research. At the Cornell Lab, it's a partnership between scientists and people around the world who perform research-related tasks such as observing and counting birds.  Cornell Lab scientists want to know where birds are and what their populations are like throughout the year, and they invite us to be the eyes and ears that watch and listen to the birds in our areas, and share this valuable data with them.

To learn more about the Lab's citizen science projects, click here. 

I also left the conference inspired to participate in Project FeederWatch this winter with my family. I hope you'll join me in participating!  You can learn about BirdSleuth resources that support homeschool participation in Project FeederWatch.  The PFW season starts on November 14... and until then, we are offering $10 the BirdSleuth Kit Science Investigator's Kit for homeschools.

Jennifer Fee
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