For many of us, walks around the neighborhood are quickly becoming part of our new daily routine. We already know how being outside makes us happier, less stressed, and more connected to nature—it also happens to be a great time to become citizen scientists!
What is citizen science? Citizen science recruits non-scientists (Such as you and me!) to collaborate with professional scientists on research projects. By enlisting the community to make observations and gather data, scientists can learn about changes in the environment, animal behavior patterns, and more!
Not only is citizen science great for scientists, but it’s also great for Girl Scouts! It encourages critical thinking and observation skills, engages girls in science and the outdoors, and best of all, it can be totally girl-led. Wherever your interests lie, there’s a citizen science project for your Girl Scout.
Resources to Get You Started
Create an account and access specific projects just for Girl Scouts. Do anything from mapping squirrels (Easy to do in your backyard!), watching ant behavior, or checking out light pollution in the sky. Then, share your results with the Girl Scout community.
Download NASA’s Globe Observer app and pick your observation category—clouds, mosquitos, or trees. Follow the instructions on the screen and you’ll quickly become a pro.
Are you a bird fanatic? Then this is the Citizen Science project for you. Create an eBird account and help scientists identify birds in your neighborhood. To date, thousands of bird species have been classified.
Download the app and join over one-million citizen scientists from around the world. Snap a picture of a plant and the app will quickly identify it. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert backyard citizen scientist.
Want to go screen-free on your walk?
- Use our Cloud Viewer and record how clouds change every day!
- Take a five senses hike and see how many things you can check off in one walk around the block. Remember to follow good Leave No Trace hiking etiquette and “leave what you find.”
- Have siblings? Play a little Backyard Bingo to see who can get BINGO first.
- Map the signs of spring in your backyard! Where are plants growing? Do you see ants or squirrels or bunnies? Where do the birds hang out?
Need some more inspiration? Watch this video of Girl Scouts River Valleys staff doing a Citizen Scientist tutorial!
Abby Lown – Abby is a STEM Program Coordinator at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in Biology and spent three years teaching in the Peace Corps in Mozambique. When she isn’t creating cool STEM programs for Girl Scouts, she loves finding new adventures in the Twin Cities or trying her hand at a new recipe.