What Is Citizen Science? (Driven to Discover Citizen Science project)

What Is Citizen Science? (Driven to Discover Citizen Science project)

Meet Karen Oberhouser. Ask her anything
about monarch butterflies and she’ll probably know the answer. She’s
been observing them for a very long time. She’s a biologist
at the University of Minnesota where she conducts research about
monarchs and conservation biology. Conservation biology is the study of how to best protect the
many living things on earth and their habitats. On a quest to better understand
monarchs, Karen has enlisted University
students to work with her in the laboratory and in the field. Together, they’re busy designing investigations
to learn about the health of the monarch population. But as fast as these students move, they
can only cover so much ground. They need help from a trained army of
scientists in the field. That’s where Citizen Scientists come in. Citizen Scientists, of all ages, are
trained to identify and record the number of monarch eggs, caterpillars an adult butterflies
they see. These people become the eye, ears and reporters for research projects, helping
scientists like Karen accomplish much more than they could
on their own. With help from Citizen Science data,
Karen has learned about monarch survival and the potential
effects of climate change on these interesting insects.
Meet Rob Blair. He became a Citizen Scientist at age 8 when he began observing birds.
Eventually, he began participating in the long running,
annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Citizen Scientists have been part of the
Audubon count for over a hundred years. They used to mail
postcards of their tallies to the Audubon Society. Now, they submit their tallies online. The information they’ve gathered about
birds through the years has help scientists better understand
populations of birds across North America. Rob grew up to get
ornithologist, which is someone who studies birds. He now works as a scientist at the
University of Minnesota, where he studies birds in urban areas.
Citizen Scientists have been making observations for a long time. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson organized Citizen
Scientists across a new America. They sent their notes to him by
horseback. Weather, birds butterflies and thats just the beginning. Citizen Scientist observe all sorts of
things. And if you want to observe really really big things, Citizen
Scientist look far away in to outer space. Some amateur astronomers, Citizen Scientists,
have even discovered gigantic things, like comets and supernovas. All of
these projects help scientists like Karen and rob
answer important questions about nature and the universe. But beyond that, another really cool
thing about Citizen Science is that you ask your own questions. Be your own scientist and there’s almost no limit to where you
can go. I wonder… what will you discover?


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