What is Citizen Science?
Doing science isn’t just for scientists! There are tons of ways in which you can participate in real science projects by collecting data, making observations and spreading the word.
Anyone can be a citizen scientist. When it comes to a citizen science project, the project is typically led by professional scientists and deals with a real study that they need help with. Their goal is usually to collect data or observations, and that can take a lot of time, energy and money. This is where you can help! Scientists reach out to the public, to all of you amateur scientists out there who are interested and passionate about science, and invite you to join them and participate in real science research.
You can engage with these projects in different ways. Many use websites and/or apps that you can download to a smart phone to collect observations or data about animals or plants. Some project even look at seismic activity or the stars. There are projects for whatever science topic interests you…you just need to know where to look.
A new and amazing resource available to us is from our own Canadian government. They’ve created a super list of projects on topics ranging from plants to peregrine falcons to climate change to worms! Check out the website here for a look and learn how you can make a difference.
If you’re in Sudbury and looking for way to get involved with some citizen science and aren’t sure how to get started, do I have news for you! Science North has just launched a brand new initiative to get involved with one new citizen science project a year for the next 5 years (at least!). Partnerships with real scientists and other organizations will help us to bring those amazing projects right here to Science North and then to you, too!
So what are we doing for year one?… Drum roll please…
THE BUMBLE BEE PROJECT!
We’ve partnered with Wildlife Preservation Canada and the University of Guelph to help them with their bumble bee nesting behaviour study. And you can help too!
Come to Science North on April 14, 15, 21 or 22 and sign up for a special workshop (see schedule below) to build your own bumble bee nest box. Your nest box will be numbered and registered for this study, and in the fall you will bring your nest box back to Science North to see if any bumble bees have made a nest inside! All of the data collected will be sent to the lab in Guelph. You can contribute to real, meaningful science that brings us closer to the wildlife in our own backyards.
Also happening this summer about bumble bees and more citizen science are the workshops we’ll be hosting through out the spring, summer and fall.
In May and June: Come learn about how you can provide habitat for bumble bees in your garden and build a bumble bee house to take home with you.
In July, August and September: We’ll be doing a biological survey of the bumble bees species here at Science North. Using an amazing app called BumbleBeeWatch, we will collect real time data of the bumble bees that make Sudbury their home.
At the end of September: Come and open bumble bee nest boxes with us! All of the participants that made a nest box in April will bring theirs back and we’ll open them up to see if there is a bumble bee nest inside. It’s a surprise every time!
So many amazing bee things happening this year with citizen science! Come check it out!