What is citizen science? How can it be used to help further scientific research? Such questions are normal to asked when citizen science is such a small, unknown field. However, finding the answer to such questions and understanding how beneficial citizen science is helps everyone.
Citizen science is the branch of science in which regular people are used to conduct experiments or to collect data that will be used for experiments. Citizen science focuses on youth, enhancing their learning while making an impact on their communities directly. In this post we will go through how citizen science has been used to positvely influence the ecosystems and communities surrounding the Great Lakes. many Citizen science programs are partnerships with scientific foundations and schools. These foundations give access to the tools and information the youth need in order to help conduct the scientific research and further enhance their own learning.
Citizen science has already been implemented in various cases! Some cases include the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NE MI GLSI), in which students of Alpena High School engaged in tracking migration of Monarch butterflies through Lake Michigan, and the restoration of local species within the local watershed. Further examples follow research studies of Chicago citizen scientists, whom have done dozens of studies around the great lakes raising awareness for it. Their most recent studies include bird projects, mapping out specific niches for certain species! There are plenty of more examples, so feel free to check out a few of them in the references below or to search them up on your own!
With all this info, a better question to ask is “Why haven’t we heard of citizen science,” or why aren’t we using it more often? Now, with the information to better enhance your own learning and community, you too should become a Citizen Scientist!