What is Community Science?

Community Science (Citizen science) is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur scientists.

Join Jim McGinity, Master Bander and his team as they gather information about a multitude of bird species. Bird ringing or bird banding is the attachment of a small, individually numbered metal or plastic tag to the leg or wing of a wild bird to enable individual identification. Banding was the first scientific method used to track migrating animals. Many millions of birds have been individually marked to this day, providing invaluable insights into the 'when' and 'where' of bird migration.

Jim's Work

Every December since 1900, teams of enthusiastic birders have joined together across the country to count the number of individual birds within each species present on the same date in the same locale. This extremely important project is coordinated by the National Audubon Society. Paul Trunk, CBC leader for Clearwater Audubon creates a report based on the birders' observations.

Our Report

Conceived by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, it provides data on bird abundance and distribution in many locations around the globe. Any birder can enter information eBird’s site, recording when, where, and how they went birding, and then checking off all the birds seen and heard during the outing. Participants’ observations are added to those contributed by an international network of eBird users..

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The Great Backyard Bird Count is a four-day, global bird count held every February. Anyone can participate by tallying the numbers and kinds of birds they spot in their yard for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count.

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Project FeederWatch, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. Anyone interested in birds can participate.

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NestWatch, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is a nationwide monitoring program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive.

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What about other projects?

Today’s opportunities to participate in citizen science are boundless. Odds are there is a citizen science project that coincides with any hobby, interest, or curiosity that you may have. Participating is easy! Often, you can use your mobile phone or the internet to collect and submit observations and to see results. These emergent, accessible platforms make it possible to help the USGS measure and record earthquake tremors; join NASA's effort in counting passing meteors, and even help monitor noise and light pollution in our communities. Platforms like Project NOAH, SciSpy, and iNaturalist provide free mobile apps for participants to share photos and observations of wildlife and nature in their backyards, cities, and towns. For some projects, like YardMap, volunteers literally don't have to go farther than their own backyards to contribute! The idea behind these projects is that anyone, anywhere can participate in meaningful scientific research.

Our uniqueness stems from our strong commitment to both environmental education and inquiry-based learning. Hands-on experiences forwards our motto of "Conservation through Education" for all ages.