Citizen Science Resources During COVID-19

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You and those you love are hunkered down at home and learning to navigate working, homeschooling, and/or social distancing. And you may, like us, be trying to figure out how to keep moving forward while keeping your mental and physical health in good working order. We want you to know that we are here for you to help in whatever way we can. 

Our partners and fellow citizen science projects are here for you too. We’re receiving emails from project managers wishing to share educational resources, project ideas, and more. We’re adding these resources here as they come in. We will continue to update this page in the coming weeks.

As always, if you have questions, comments, or are affiliated with CitSci.org and have citizen science educational resources to share, please leave them in the Comments section below or simply get in touch.

Select CitSci.org Projects

(1) Take inspiration from new projects just starting such as Park Usage During Mandated Social Distancing – Philadelphia and see if you can create projects that can safely help monitor conditions.

(2) Leverage existing CitSci.org open datasets such as the Trout Unlimited Coldwater Conservation Corps Water Quality Monitoring dataset and have your home-bound students studying statistics or environmental science explore these data. For example, ask your students what they think about the trends in air temperature at this monitoring site near Lake Erie. Can they figure out how to add water temperature? Is air temperature normally distributed? What about water temperature? What does this mean for deciding which statistical tests may be appropriate for analysis?

(3) Check out Steam Tracker when allowed to venture out safely from home again given local and statewide restrictions. Be sure to abide by your area restrictions, travel alone or with close family, and avoid populated areas! This is a great way to contribute to particularly timely science by helping hydrologists understand intermittent stream flow during spring runoff.

(4) Help out the Mountain Goat Trackers project by digging through any old photos you may have at home of mountain goats and submitting them online. No photos in your archives with mountain goats? No problem. Hop on over to the corollary Zooniverse-hosted image classification project and help classify mountain goat coat molt. By doing so you will be helping scientists answer the questions of “When do mountain goats shed their winter coats?” and “Is this timing changing?”

There are many other opportunities. For example, if you are in the Front Range of Colorado – and when stay-at-home requirements are removed – consider watching eagles for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Bald Eagle Watch. Check out our complete project list for a full listing of projects or see all projects on our map to help find a project near you.

COVID-19 Specific Citizen Science

Help Study How COVID-19 is affecting Citizen Science

A graduate student working with CitSci.org (Dani Lin-Hunter) is studying the experiences of citizen science project managers and is interested in learning how your projects are being affected by COVID-19. If interested in sharing your experiences with managing and leading citizen science projects during this difficult time, please email Dani to schedule an interview (Danielle.Lin@colostate.edu).

Covid Near You

Covid Near You uses crowdsourced data to visualize maps to help citizens and public health agencies identify current and potential hotspots for the recent pandemic coronavirus, COVID-19. The website is a sister tool of Flu Near You, created by Ending Pandemics and Boston Children’s Hospital in 2012 and maintained by the Boston Children’s Hospital team.

FoldIT – Coronavirus Puzzles

The FoldIT team is a long running citizen science game and project dedicated to better understanding how proteins fold. And it turns out their work is relevant to learning more about COVID-19, coronavirus. Read their blog to learn how you can participate in FoldIT and complete puzzles to further scientific understanding of COVID-19.

Open COVID-19 Initiative

The goal of the OpenCovid19 Initiative is to collectively develop open-source and low-cost tools and methodologies that are safe and easy to use to fight the Covid19 Pandemic. Anyone can play a role!

University of Washington Lab Cough Study

The University of Washington Ubicomp Lab (Ubiquitous Computing) is conducting a study of coughs. You can participate by completing a survey recording your coughs.

Citizen Science Association COVID-19 Resources

The Citizen Science Association compiled a great list of resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including even more projects and education resources you can try.

Science Friday Interview with Dr. Caren Cooper

The radio program Science Friday interviewed Dr. Caren Cooper, citizen science researcher and author of A Field Guide To Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference, on their show to help celebrate Citizen Science Month (which is all of April by the way!). Listen to the Interview

Educational Citizen Science Resources for Homeschooling

Oklahoma Citizen Science Soil Collection (CSSC) Program

The CSSC team wants to do what it can by giving back to all those who have so graciously helped them. Specifically, they are aware of the plight that parents and teachers face to develop continuity for their children’s education. The CSSC Program appreciate those challenges as millions of kids find themselves cut off from their schools, traditional educational resources, and structured learning environments. To address these problems, they are offering two new educational tools to help parents and teachers continue to provide science-learning content for children of all ages.

1)    Fungi Fridays on Facebook Live!: Beginning Friday, March 27, 2020 at 12 PM EST, we will be hosting 30-40 minute lessons for kids of all ages that cover the biology and chemistry of fungi and natural products (amazing molecules made by living organisms). These lessons will be free and open access to all. People can join them on their new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OUCSSC, where they can live stream lessons for kids (and parents!). Watch and participate as we learn about this fascinating group of microbes and the amazing molecules that they create. People are encouraged to bookmark the CSSC Program page (https://whatsinyourbackyard.org/homeschool/) and check back to see the topics they will be covering. They are developing content that is appropriate for a wide age range spanning through elementary school, middle school, and introductory high school level science. They will also be performing experiments that most children should be able to perform at home with parental supervision.

2)    Free curriculum materials: The CSSC will continue to offer their at home Citizen Science Soil Collection Program. As always, people can obtain a free kit for their child by visiting their online request form. To access it, go to https://whatsinyourbackyard.org/homeschool/ and click on the “Request Participation” link at the top of the page. They have also created a curriculum guide that is free for parents and educators. Go to https://whatsinyourbackyard.org/homeschool/ and click on the “Curriculum Materials” link at the top of the page. The online guide contains lessons covering Exploring Science (K-12th grade), Exploring Fungi (4th grade), Decomposer Observer (5th and 6th grade), Synthetic and Natural (middle and high school). This guide is free and open access to everyone.

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