Are you interested in science and want to participate in scientific research? Have a smartphone and like to take pictures? Or do you just want to get outside and volunteer with your kids? Consider being a citizen scientist!
Citizen scientists are members of the public who conduct scientific work, often in partnership with professional scientists and scientific institutions. There are many ways in New Hampshire to get involved. You can help researchers monitor water quality, weather and environmental changes; document species; restore habitats, and more.
The best part? This is a great way to learn and volunteer on your own or with friends and family — kids, too! — while making an impact in your community. It’s also a great way to meet new people and build awareness of different types of research happening locally and globally.
Right here in Manchester, you can participate in data collection and environmental monitoring at Cedar Swamp Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy. All you need to do is document what you see using iNaturalist or take photos at one of the Picture Posts located in the preserve. The instructions are right on the posts and it’s easy to submit and view photos. Want to learn more? Join them for Tech Trip: Science in the Swamp on July 8 to learn about citizen science opportunities available.
Have you seen any rabbits lately? Report your sightings! NH Rabbit Reports, a partnership between UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Fish and Game Department, with support from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire, asks participants to collect data and report sightings of rabbit and hare species in New Hampshire.
You can find other citizen science opportunities through Nature Groupie, which hosts an online hub of nature-based citizen science projects from across New England. There is an extensive range of listings there, including projects for students and teachers. Educators and volunteers can also become STEM Docents to introduce citizen science to youth through programs such as Stream Safari, which monitors stream health. Or visit the UNH Cooperative Extension’s citizen science site to learn about other projects around the state.
Citizen scientists are impacting research, helping solve problems, and changing the world. So get out there, get involved and most of all, have fun!
In her role as the STEM Discovery Lab Coordinator, Emily supports the collaborative effort between UNH Cooperative Extension and UNH Manchester of the STEM Discovery Lab located on the Manchester campus. Emily was an English as a Second Language and English Language Learner educator for youth and adults in the greater Manchester and Seacoast areas for over 8 years and was the project assistant for the GATE CITY Project (Getting All Teachers ESOL Certified in Two Years) at UNH Manchester from 2012 to 2015. Emily earned her B.A. in international studies from The Ohio State University and her M.Ed. in secondary education from UNH Manchester. She is the mother of two active teenage boys and loves spending time outdoors.