The Lure of the Redwood Forest

By Sharman Apt Russell August 17th, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Comment

Walking through Purisima Creek Redwoods Reserve in northern California, I am the paparazzi of Western sword ferns (Polystichum munitum). When I find one, I stop and click, click, click my smartphone photos and then approach boldly for a closer look. Are new leaves emerging as curled fronds or fiddleheads? Are there round spots called sori—reproductive structures that produce spores—on the underside of the fronds? Are these spots brown or green? And how many centimeters are the four longest uncurled fronds? I am really getting intimate here, probing for the most personal of details, and ready—yes—to post it all online on the Fern Watch website. Researchers there won’t handle this information discreetly. Instead they share among themselves and all their citizen scientists, using our data to learn more about how redwood forests are responding to climate change.

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Citizen Science Isn’t Just About Collecting Data

By Darlene Cavalier August 16th, 2016 at 11:19 am | Comment

Nonscientists should take part in discussions about research priorities and more.
This article, Citizen Science Isn’t Just About Collecting Data, originally appeared in Slate AUG. 15 2016 7:31 AM
The earthquake near Washington, D.C., five years ago in August 2011—the one that damaged the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral but had little other noticeable impact—caught me by surprise. Sitting in an office on the 12th floor of a building downtown, I thought it might have been an improbably large truck on the street below, until a co-worker suggested we probably ought to leave the building. We spent the rest of that sunny afternoon milling around with other office workers before calling it a day and heading to happy hour.

What I did not do, but really wish that I had, was enter a description of my experience into the U.S. Geological Survey’s crowdsourcing initiative, Did You Feel It? The system collects data from people who have felt tremors to determine the extent and intensity of earthquakes in near-real time. The submitted data are used in the USGS ShakeMaps, which help organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency prepare for and respond to earthquakes.
Read the full article here.

Categories: In the News

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Celebrate National Parks with Citizen Science

By Eva Lewandowski August 11th, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Comment

Photo: NPS
Celebrate the National Parks with Citizen Science
On August 25, the United States National Park Service turns 100! The park system provides many excellent citizen science opportunities to visitors.
Below, you’ll find five great national park projects. Find even more projects with the SciStarter Global Project Finder.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

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Conference Session: “Citizen Science 2.0: Expanding Reach, Expanding Results”

By Darlene Cavalier August 9th, 2016 at 11:32 am | Comment

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We all know that scientific research is done in sterile labs by nerds in white lab coats, the results of which eventually makes its way to the public through government agencies or mega corporations who own the ‘science’.  If you’ve not paid your dues in academia to get the appropriate science degrees, your capacity to participate in science is limited to the baking soda and vinegar volcano that you show off to your kids when it’s their Science Fair.

Wrong; and wrong.

Citizen Science may be the most widespread and important outsourcing enterprise ever attempted, and chances are you haven’t heard of it. Or if you have, you don’t know what’s out there or how you can get involved.  We’d like to change that by introducing you to two prominent Citizen Science programs that encourage and facilitate participation in real scientific research projects. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Events

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Meteor Hunters Track Fireballs in the Night Sky

By Kristin Butler August 3rd, 2016 at 9:04 am | Comment

May 17, 2016, AMS Event

May 17, 2016, AMS Event

Have you ever glanced up at the night sky, at just the right moment, and seen a streak of bright light dart across the heavens and disappear?

The next time you do, instead of making a wish upon the “shooting star” (or maybe just after making your wish), consider reporting your observation to the American Meteor Society (AMS).

And that “next time” could be now, as Earth is crossing paths with the comet Swift-Tuttle this month, bringing about the beautiful Perseid meteor shower, with peak meteor shower viewings promised for Aug. 11 and 12. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Citizen Science