It’s Earth Day! Five ways to help the planet

Spot Robins, Help the PlanetToday is Earth Day, a perfect excuse to get out and help the planet!

Researchers need YOUR help tracking the presence of American robins, so they can compare your observations with other environmental data, including climate and weather changes.  American robins are arriving in the Colorado Rockies 14 days earlier than they did 30 years ago and have been spotted in parts of Alaska for the first time. Because robins consume a wide variety of foods, an increase or decrease in their population may indicate (or impact) changes in other animal and plant species. It’s time for you to get involved and help the planet!

All you have to do:

1. Spot a robin
2. Record the date and location
3. Take note of its activity (what is it doing? what is it eating? is it near other birds?)
4. Share your results

This project is part the Changing Planet series, presented by the National Science Foundation, NBC News, Discover Magazine, Science For Citizens and Planet Forward. Changing Planet” is a series of three televised Town Hall meetings, hosted by Tom Brokaw of NBC News, on what climate change means. The first event, held at Yale, airs on the Weather Channel tonight at 8pm ET. We’ll also post the video here on Monday, April 25.

Here are four other awesome projects to start on Earth Day:

2011 IGES Earth Day Photo & Essay Contest for Grades 5-8 Earth Day Photo and Essay Contest: Celebrate Earth Day with middle school students (grades 5-8) across the country by taking a photograph of something changing in your local environment. Then, research and write an essay about the photograph. The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies will award a variety of prizes, including a digital camera, digital photo frame and digital photo keychain, and more. Send in your pictures by April 29, 2011!
Sound Around You Sound Around You: Help researchers build a sound map of the world as part of a study into how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel. Just use your mobile phone (or other recording device) to record 10 to 15 second clips from different sound environments, or “soundscapes” – anything from the inside of a family car to a busy shopping center. Then, upload the clips to a virtual map!
Cloned Plants Project Cloned Plants Project: Plant a lilac and contribute to a phenology monitoring project over 50 years in existence! Participants plant a lilac clone and record observations of recurring life cycle stages such as leafing and flowering on the USA National Phenology Network webpage. Observations of cloned plants help predict crop yields and bloom dates of other species, control insects and disease, and assist with monitoring the impact of global climate change.
BeeSpotter BeeSpotter: Get out there with your camera and capture some good pictures of bees! Researchers need your help better understand bee demographics in the state of Illinois. You’ll help BeeSpotter researchers establish a baseline for monitoring bee population declines and learn about bees in the process.

Looking for more citizen science opportunities? Sign up for the Science for Citizens newsletter!

Categories: Animals, Biology, Birds, Citizen Science, Climate & Weather, Ecology & Environment, Geology & Earth Sciences, Insects, Nature & Outdoors, Science Education Standards

Tags: , , , , ,