Citizen Science!

Do you ever sit at home, staring at your computer monitor willing something interesting to happen on the internet so you can be entertained? Are you a secretary with a secret passion for reading old war diaries? How about an engineer who wants to hear whales talking to one another? Or maybe you were born and raised in a city and always wanted to go on an African safari or a fireman who dreams of being a meteorologist?

Even if none of those things resonates with you, there’s probably some branch of science that does. Likewise, there’s a branch of science that needs your help. Channel surfer, secretary, engineer, urbanite, fireman, or whatever it is you do, everyone is welcome and needed to help process the massive amounts of information that scientists assemble. I promise it’s not boring!

Imagine you’re interested in learning to identify the different dialects of Orcas. You sink several microphones underwater and record for hundreds of hours. Now you’ve got a ton of data to sift through and it would literally take you YEARS to do so. So what do you do? Historically, a scientist might devote their entire career to that one project but now, with the internet and so many people willing to help, it may only take a few months. Projects that involve the collective effort of people (scientists and janitors alike) to parse through vast amounts of data are called, “Citizen Science” projects.

The museum helps pair social scientists and their projects with participators on our Experimonth website using cooperative games to find answers for the scientist.

If that’s not your thing, and you really do want to read war diaries, listen to whales, categorize cyclones or safari through Africa, you should head over to Zooniverse and join me and the other 1.1 million people who are taking part in any of the 22 currently running projects.

My current favorites:

Experimonth: Do You Know What I Know You Know?

Zooniverse: Condor Watch, Snapshot Serengeti, Notes from Nature, and Galaxy Zoo

So start classifying or entering or cooperating!

You also never know when a Serval will photobomb your Wildebeest trail cam, and I promise you don’t want to miss it!


An actual trail cam photo from the Snapshot Serengeti project


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