Citizen Science

Citizen science is the involvement of the public in science, through data collection, reporting and analysis. We promote and have resources that involve citizen science. Some, like GLOBE, are geared to a school or youth program audience. Others are for individuals or families. 

We can help you get involved, started and resourced for these projects:

  • GLOBE is our school based citizen monitoring project. If you are a teacher or out of school time educator, contact Anne for more information about how you can collect and report data with your students.
  • GLOBE Observer. GLOBE Observer is the citizen science arm of GLOBE. Currently, it is configured to collect data on clouds and mosquito habitat. 
  • iNaturalist. iNaturalist is a a community where you can report and identify your photos of wild (i.e. not cultivated or tame) flora and fauna. Whether it's a weed in your backyard or a mammal in a national park, share your photos to help document species distribution around the world!
  • Earth Echo Water Challenge. Suitable for kids and families. The Earth Echo Water Challenge uses simple, safe tests to collect data on water temperature, water clarity, pH and dissolved oxygen. Contact Anne for a monitoring kit.
  • Journey North: Journey North offers a lot of different options for citizen science. 
    • Robin Watch is our citizen science event to welcome spring! We kick it off on Valentine's Day and it runs through the first day of spring. Use the resources from  Journey North to learn about robins and what to look for. You then report your observations about the robins' arrival and behavior to their website.

    • FAQs

      1. How do I/we do this?
        The first step is just to observe. If that is all you want to do, great! We'd love it if you post your observations to our Facebook page or - even better -sign up for a Journey North account and enter your data.

      2. What is citizen science?
        Citizen science is the involvement of everyday people in research. In this project, people report their robin sightings to Journey North. Scientists can use this data to better understand the behavior of robins.

      3. Is there a cost?
        No, this is free.

      4. Where should I go to observe?
        One of these things that we love about this project is that you can do it right where you are, doing what you already do; going to work and school, running errands, walking the dog, etc.  No special equipment or location necessary!

Other Citizen Science Projects We Like
There are many other citizen science projects. Go to SciStarter to find more to chose from and get involved.
  • CoCoRaHS - The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network collects precipitation information. The SD Discovery Center supports this project in South Dakota by providing rain gauges. 
  • Bird Sleuth and the Great Backyard Bird Count - The GBBC is an annual citizen-science project that asks novice bird watchers and lifelong bird enthusiasts alike to collect data that scientists will use to create a “real-time snapshot” of the locations of birds around the world. Scientists use this information to understand how populations of birds are changing from year to year.
One of the easiest citizen science projects you can do is to keep a nature journal. A nature journal can include weather, birds and animal sitings and behavior, plant activity,. Include sketches or photos. Whether you snap a photo with your phone and upload it with a few comments or keep an actual little notebook like Aldo Leopold, a nature journal is a citizen scientist's document that can provide important, day to day information for the historical record. 


Upcoming events

Thank you to the 
Friends of the South Dakota Discovery Center. 
Friends provide on going support so that the
children and families in our community have access to hands-on science learning, now and in the future.

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