Skip to main content

What is Citizen Science?

Simply put, citizen science is public participation in scientific research.  You don't have to have a formal background in science.  People of all ages and backgrounds, just like you, can help make observations, collect data and contribute to scientific discovery. The whole world can be your lab and everyone can be a  Citizen Scientist!

Up-close photo of a ladybug on a finger.

Are you interested in insects? Birds? Water quality? Flowers?  As a citizen scientist you can help study the world around us.  People of all ages, backgrounds and interests can be trained as Citizen Scientists and participate in hundreds of real science projects! 

Additional terminology for “citizen science”

●       Community science

●       Amateur science

●       Participatory Science

●       Crowd sourced science

●       Volunteer monitoring

Photo of a little girl looking at a flower

How can I become a citizen scientist?

The RCRCD has a long history of participating in citizen science and providing opportunities for the community to get involved. In addition to our ongoing citizen science projects, we periodically offer trainings and events focused on new projects that you can be a part of.  For more information on specific projects that you can be a part of please see our RCRCD Citizen Science page. 

You can participate in citizen science projects anywhere and there are many resources available to help you get started. For example, is a great place to search and find projects by topic, age level, location, or time needed. For more information on the many resources available to help you be a citizen scientist, visit our citizen science resource page.

photo of a little boy looking through binoculars

What do I need to be a citizen scientist?

Nothing fancy!  Most of the time, a few minutes, your observation skills and a pencil and paper are all that you need to be a successful citizen scientist.  You can find projects that require small amounts of time or longer periods of time.  Some projects don't require any special tools, Others might use require certain apps or inexpensive items like magnifiers, rulers or binoculars.  With hundreds of projects to participate in, its easy to find a project that is perfect for you!