3 Citizen Science Projects You Can Do on Earth Day

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It’s Earth Day! Celebrate the planet we live on with these amazing environmental citizen science projects!

African Elephants

African elephants in the Zuurberg Mountains, South Africa.

The Earth Day Network records that in 1970 the average American was funneling leaded gas through massive V8 engine blocks, and industry was exhausting toxic smoke into the air and chemical slush into the water with little legal consequence or bad press.

The nation was largely oblivious to environmental concerns, but Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962 set the stage for something new, as she raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.

Earth Day was born in 1970 and it built upon a new sense of awareness, channeling the energy of a restless youth, and putting environmental concerns front and center. Now it is celebrated in some way in 192 countries across the world. As we celebrate Earth Day 2014, here is a selection of citizen science projects you can choose from, and they are perfectly suited to both the young and young at heart.

1. Mammal Map is a project that helps to update the distribution records of African mammal species. Based out of the University of Cape Town, you can add recent photos of animals photographed in Africa.

2. Based in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Birds in Forested Landscapes volunteers observe and record forest-dwelling birds in North America to help scientists better understand the birds’ habitat and conservation needs. As a volunteer, you will help answer the following questions: A) How much habitat do different forest-dwelling bird species require for successful breeding? B) How are habitat requirements affected by land uses, such as human development, forestry, and agriculture? C) How do the habitat requirements of a species vary across its range?

3. By 2050 we will need to feed more than 2 billion additional people on the Earth. By playing Cropland Capture, you will help improve basic information about where cropland is located on the Earth’s surface. Using this information, researchers will be better equipped at tackling problems of future food security and the effects of climate change on future food supply.

Image:  Ian Vorster

This post originally appeared on the SciStarter blog.


Ian Vorster has a MS in Environmental Communications and most recently served as director of communications at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. Prior to that he worked in the health communications field. Ian has served as a designer, writer, photographer, editor and project leader in the field of science, and now works freelance in a blend of these roles. You can see more of Ian’s work at www.dragonflyec.com.

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3 Citizen Science Projects You Can Do on Earth Day by CitizenSci, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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