SciStarter’s Holiday Film Guide

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‘Tis the season for citizen science!

Image Credit: Robert Couse-Baker

Like a warm cup of cocoa, these family favorite films evoke the spirit of giving, especially when paired with citizen science activities. Whether you’re outside dashing through the snow or at home roasting chestnuts by an open fire, we hope these offerings will inspire you to turn your curiosity into impact.

The SciStarter Team

As George Bailey discovered, even in times of enormous challenges, small acts of generosity can make a big difference! For example, by joining SciStarter affiliate projects, you’ll help make the world a better place AND you’ll be able to track the number and frequency of your contributions to projects in your SciStarter Dashboard. Bonus: when you share a hundred data points, an angel gets its wings.

Location: Global

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Like Charlie Brown, seek out neglected trees and give them the attention they deserve with GLOBE Observer: Trees. Use your cell phone to measure tree height and add your observations to a NASA database, so scientists can monitor tree growth and canopy height.

Location: Global

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Even when he melted in the Spring, Frosty wasn’t sad or discouraged. Why? Because he knew he’d be back again next year, thanks to the stability of our climate. You can help reward Frosty’s trust in our ability to tackle climate change by joining the MIT Climate CoLab, contributing your ideas to a global community of problem-solvers.

Location: Global

Image Credit: Flickr/klem@s

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Feeling a bit Grinchy this year? Then join the Christmas Bird Count!
In the crisp winter air, you’ll watch birds as they play; and you’ll find that your heart grows THREE SIZES that day! All the Whos down in Whoville will join in the fun; and together you’ll tally the birds one by one; with a field guide in hand it’ll be such a cinch; that you won’t quite remember you once were a Grinch.

Location: North America

Image Credit: tlparadis from Pixabay

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Who can know what secrets will be revealed by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future? You can, as a skilled Smithsonian volunteer! By the light of your computer monitor, you’ll pore over images of priceless historical documents and transcribe them for the researchers of today and tomorrow.

Location: Online

Image Credit: Smithsonian Transcription Center

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On Christmas Eve, Rudolph lights up the sky so Santa can navigate effectively. But on every other night, Santa, his reindeer and other night sky lovers know that it’s important to keep skies dark so as not to upset and confuse nocturnal creatures like moths, owls and astronomers. Join Globe at Night to help researchers monitor light pollution.

Location: Global

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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!

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Attend the next event in the Citizen Science & Libraries series to learn how YOU can help design RNA-based medicines, just by playing a game. Plus, if you’re part of a library staff and/or a community leader, we have a leadership breakout group for you at the end! RSVP to join us at 2 PM ET on December 16.

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NASA-funded Community Snow Observations (CSO) project recruits citizen scientists to help collect snow depth observations – anytime and anywhere, and then they can submit their observations via the mobile-sharing platform Mountain Hub. Listen again to a SciStarter episode that spotlighted the project leader and one of their super-volunteers!

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Want to learn more about GLOBE Observer: Clouds? Look no further! Join SciStarter and the San Miguel branch of the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries on December 16 at 1 PM PT for a tutorial, Q&A and fun participation session about one of the four GLOBE Observer protocols.

Get Started!

Make It Count Monday

Open to everyone, everywhere! Every Monday at 6 PM ET, SciStarter and the NC State University Citizen Science Campus co-host “Make it Count Monday.” Join us online to learn about citizen science and how you can get involved in projects to advance research in North Carolina…and beyond!

New on the Blogs

How Playing Science Games is Advancing Genetic Research, via the SciStarter Blog

How One Person in Pakistan Made a Difference for Air Quality, via Discover Magazine

Explore the Cosmos at Home, via Science Connected

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

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon, President, Springtail Media LLC Bob Hirshon heads up Springtail Media, specializing in science media and digital entertainment. He is Principle Investigator for the NSF-supported National Park Science Challenge, an augmented reality adventure that takes place in National Parks. Hirshon headed up the Kinetic City family of science projects, including the Peabody Award winning children’s radio drama Kinetic City Super Crew, McGraw-Hill book series and Codie Award winning website and education program. Hirshon can be heard on XM/Sirius Radio’s Kids Place Live as “Bob the Science Slob,” sharing science news and answering children’s questions.