Tis the season for citizen science

Tis the season for citizen science!

This blog post was originally published on CitizenSci, a PLOS blog about the projects, people, and perspectives fueling new frontiers for citizen science.

‘Tis the season for citizen science! (Then again, it’s always the season for citizen science.) This December, SciStarter wraps up 12 different citizen science projects especially for you.

On the 1st day of Christmas, Audubon gave to me:
A partridge, a blue jay, and a sparrow? The Christmas Bird Count season is December 14 through January 5 each year! The count is the world’s longest running citizen science project. The “Count Circles” focus on specific geographical areas.

On the 2nd day of Christmas, the British Trust for Ornithology gave to me:
The Nest Record Scheme, a citizen science project to monitor the turtle dove, the United Kingdom’s most most threatened farmland bird, and many others.

On the 3rd day of Christmas, Iowa gave to me:
The Greater Prairie Chicken Project to ensure these hens remain in Iowa. Greater Prairie chickens were once abundant in Central and Eastern United States. Their numbers have dwindled since the 1800s. All you have to do is submit your sightings!

On the 4th day of Christmas, the University College of London gave to me:
Bat calls aplenty to listen to and identify. Bat Detective is an online citizen science project which allows participants to take part in wildlife conservation by listening out for bat calls in recordings collected all over the world.

On the 5th day of Christmas, FoldIt gave to me:
A bunch of protein rings! Foldit is a revolutionary new computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research. They’re collecting data to find out human pattern-recognition and puzzle-solving abilities make us more efficient than existing computer programs at pattern-folding tasks. If this turns out to be true, we can then teach human strategies to computers and fold proteins faster than ever!

On the 6th of Christmas, Seattle Audubon Society gave to me:
A chance to help seabird researchers create a snapshot of geese density on more than three square miles of near-shore saltwater habitat.

On the 7th day of Christmas, the Swan Society of the University of Melbourne gave to me:
The MySwan project to report sightings of tagged black swans around the world. After you submit your sighting, you’ll get an instant report about the swan, with interesting information about its history and recent movements.

On the 8th day of Christmas, Zooniverse gave to me:
The Milky Way Project, a chance to help scientists study our galaxy, as well as the Milky Way advent calendar and even Milky Way tree ornaments!

On the 9th day of Christmas, the Science Cheerleaders gave to me:
1300 young ladies dancing (and cheering) for citizen science as they set a new Guinness World Record last year for the World’s Largest Cheer!

On the 10th day of Christmas, the Bodleian Libraries gave to me:
A leap into a music archive containing over four thousand digitized scores, mostly piano music from the nineteenth century. What’s the Score allows you to help facilitate research about music in this time period.

On the 11th day of Christmas, Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology gave to me:
Science Pipes, a free service that lets you connect to real biodiversity data, use simple tools to create visualizations and feeds, and embed results on your own web site or blog.

On the 12th day of Christmas, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation gave to me:
The Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey to help hunters survey the population of ruffed grouse during breeding season.

If you’re fortunate to experience a white Christmas, consider sending your snow depth measurements to cryosphere researchers at the University of Waterloo’s Snow Tweets project. They want to use your real-time measurements to help calibrate the accuracy of satellite instruments currently measuring snow precipitation.

Happy holidays from the SciStarter team!

Photo: John Ohab

Categories: Citizen Science


About the Author


Lily Bui

Although she holds dual non-science bachelors’ degrees in International Studies and Spanish from the University of California Irvine, Lily has long harbored a proclivity for the sciences. A daughter of an engineer and an accountant who also happen to be a photographer and musician, respectively, Lily grew up on the nexus between science and art. Lily has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; served a year in AmeriCorps in Montgomery County, Maryland; worked for a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter in California; and performed across the U.S. as a touring musician. She currently works with WGBH-TV Boston and Public Radio Exchange (PRX) in Cambridge. In her spare time, she thinks of cheesy science puns (mostly to entertain herself). // Tweets @dangerbui