Friday, November 16, 2012

Citizen Science

A colleague just sent me notice of a citizen science contest. This is of interest since one of the best ways to teach science is to simply do it.

Citizen Science can be defined in various ways. It can be a collaboration of trained professionals, a project involving trained scientists and non-professionals, or just a group of interested citizens. Perhaps the best known citizen science projects are the ones related to astronomy, where avid sky watchers have discovered  or helped to discover celestial objects from comets to whole galaxies. For an extensive list of citizen science initiatives in the greater US, check out the Citizen Science section in Scientific American.

Here in Hawaii you may already be aware of some of the great citizen science programs, there is Reef Check Hawaii, the Coral Reef Alliance , and HIMB's Eyes of the Reef. There is the Opihi Project and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary has a citizen science component (how many of you have done the annual whale counts). If you have a group of animals that interests you, there may already be a project running - just join in.

With all of these projects out there, is it all covered? I think not. We do weekly plankton tows with our classes - maybe there is a way to build this into a citizen science project, perhaps there is a simple bit of ocean monitoring gear that we could give out to kayakers and paddlers.

So put on your thinking cap - and take a look at the contest below. Maybe there is an idea of yours that relates to Kaneohe Bay or Hawaii that we need to work on.

Check out the info below (thanks to Carlie Wiener and Liz Foote for the heads up on this)



The SciStarter Citizen Science Contest is now live!
In partnership with Discover Magazine and Instructables we invite you and a community of DIYers to come up with solutions to real problems posted by citizen science project organizers.
Enter the SciStarter Contest for your chance to advance research AND win amazing prizes, including a telescope valued at $1,000!
Keep experimenting!
- The SciStarter Team

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