STEM@Home: Citizen Science

Pardon me, are you Citizen Science? No, that’s not a hip new prefix for your name – it’s a description of your new summer hobby! Citizen science is science where everyone participates – including PhDs, amateurs, students, volunteers. Then, professional researchers use the collected data to come to real-world conclusions.

Why citizen science? Well, we live in a big world with big problems – it stands to reason we need big solutions. By working together, citizen science helps gather positively gi-normous sets of data from across the globe, and over years and even decades. That means scientists can develop stronger solutions to environmental, health, and ecological problems. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

SciStarter is the place to kick off your hopefully life-long citizen science career. Over a thousand projects are listed – some gathering global data, some more locally focused. Most of them can easily be done while maintaining safe social distancing and exploring our wonderful state and county parks. Check out a few of our favorites below!

SciStarter Snakes: Michigan Herp Atlas

As anyone who’s visited the Van Kley Animal Museum knows, we love our Michigan herps. Say what? Herp stands for Herpetofauna – or the group of animals including reptiles and amphibians. Ever hear the spring peepers disturb a still evening with their noisy croaks? Or jumped when a garter snake scurried across your path? You’ve interacted with some of Michigan’s native herpetofauna – and the Michigan Herp Atlas wants to know about it!

Slither on over to the SciStarter Michigan Herp Atlas page to learn more about the project and register for the Michigan Herp Atlas.

SciStarter Kites: Public Laboratory Balloon and Kite Mapping

Snakes not your thing? We won’t tell. How about a family project that uses helium balloons and digital camera imagery to create aerial maps of your neighborhood and city? Now we’re talking!

The Public Laboratory Balloon and Kite Mapping project takes a little up-front prep work, but your contribution helps create high-resolution maps that can be used for environmental research. And there’s no limit to the number of maps you can make!

Let’s go fly a kite! Visit the SciStarter Public Laboratory Balloon and Kite Mapping page to learn more and join the Public Lab mapping community!

Check out our website to learn about the Exploratory Learning Center at Hope College, ExploreHope Summer Science Camps (sample schedule) and our academic year programs.

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