Virtual Travel: Come Away With Citizen Science

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Pack Your Virtual Bags

(Credit: Amarnath Tade)

Winter weather and the persistent pandemic have pushed many of us to dream about the world beyond our walls. To help ease that wanderlust, we’ve compiled a list of virtual citizen science projects that let you globe-trot while staying safe and warm indoors.

Bon voyage!
The SciStarter Team

Puma camera trap image. (Credit: Instant Wild)

Destination: Costa Rica

Hey all you cool cats and kittens! Ready for warmer climes? The rainforests of Costa Rica are a great place to enjoy the sights while helping researchers track wildcats and their prey in the Osa Peninsula. Keep your eyes out for jaguar, puma and ocelot.

Get Started!

Milky Way look-alike NGC 6744. (Credit: ESO)

Destination: Deep Space

This project is perfect for REALLY getting away. Travel to deep space with Spiral Graph. While there, you’ll help classify distant galaxies. By tracing the spiral arms of galaxies like our Milky Way, astronomers can learn more about these “island universes,” including their supermassive black holes.

Get Started!

Orca breaching. (Credit: Thomas Lipke via Unsplash)

Destination: Puget Sound

You don’t even need a wetsuit for this virtual underwater adventure. Travel to the Pacific Northwest and help scientists study — and save — the southern resident killer whales. As an Orcasound citizen scientist, you’ll listen for whales, report dangerous noises and help decode orca language.

Get Started!

Destination: Cities Near and Far

Stroll city streets around the world, from Zurich to Kuala Lumpur, using citizen scientist submitted images in the CrowdWater Game. You’ll virtually measure water levels, soil moisture and more. And your contributions could help scientists make potential insights into future floods and droughts.

Get Started!

Destination: Gulf Coast

How about a tour down the Mississippi River Delta on North America’s Gulf Coast? This landscape is one of the most fertile in the world, but the wetlands are being lost at an alarming rate. Land Loss Lookout teaches participants how to monitor the impacts of oil and gas development, as well as sea level rise.

Get Started!

April 2021 is Global Citizen Science Month, presented by SciStarter, the National Library of Medicine, Arizona State University, the Citizen Science Association and many other partners.

Project Leaders: Find free resources and support to help plan and promote your project in April! Read our new welcome letter to get started.

People everywhere: Check out the event calendar and learn more!

Get Started!

(Credit: Human Computation Institute)

As part of continued programming with the Network of the National Library of Medicine and the All of Us Research Program, SciStarter is hosting an event series in January, February and March to help you get started in one of three citizen science projects that advance real world research. Then, share your experiences with the scientists you helped and ask them anything!

Learn about the different events in the series and RSVP. Our next event is on Thursday, January 28 at 2 PM ET. And you don’t need to have attended the companion event to enjoy and ask meaningful questions! See you there.

Get Started!

On January 27 at 3 PM ET, join SciStarter and 4 Seasons, a community in New Jersey, for an introduction to citizen science and three projects you can do from home. Anyone of any age is welcome, though this webinar is an especially great fit for retirees that are new to citizen science.

Get Started!

Calling all 50-year-olds and older! Learn about the basics of citizen science, engage in projects that need you and then build confidence in introducing citizen science to your friends, family and communities! Open to all over the age of 50, from anywhere. This weekly course is offered from March 15 through April 12 and is presented by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University, SciStarter and the ASU Library. Learn more and register.

Get Started!

As part of the Citizen Science Hour for Biodiversity Collections Webinar Series, the focus of this event is “Opportunities Provided by the 2021 Global Citizen Science Month, including City Nature Challenge and WeDigBio.” Join us on January 28 at 2 PM ET to learn more about BioBlitzes and digitizing museum collections in the context of Citizen Science Month in April.

Register for this event on EventBrite.

Get Started!

Citizen Science in the Media

(Credit: Emily Maletz, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Discover citizen science for all ages in a recent TIME for Kids article, then explore Project Squirrel — a project focused on understanding squirrels around the globe — with a worksheet created by TIME for Kids and SciStarter.

As featured by Vox, it’s clear that “citizen science is booming during the pandemic.” In a time of isolation for many, increased citizen science participation may signal a desire for both community and to be part of something meaningful.

New on the Blogs

How One Million Volunteers Could One Day Revolutionize Medicine, via the SciStarter Blog

The Top Citizen Science Projects of 2020, via Discover Magazine

Watching Plants With Project Budburst, via Science Connected

More from SciStarter

Discover more citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

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About the Author

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Nathaniel Scharping

Nate is a science writer and editor with more than four years of experience translating complex research into compelling narratives. He has reported from archaeological digs and particle colliders, and managed a digital team at a national magazine. You can find clips of his work at nathanielscharping.com Nate helped found a marketing agency focused on providing scientific storytelling to brands and nonprofits. At Lunaris Creative he writes, edits and strategizes with clients to engage and inspire their audience.