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Celebrate Citizen Science With the Museum

April 3, 2016
nest watching for science

Photo by Chris Goforth

In October 2015, the federal government welcomed several citizen science leaders to Washington D.C. to discuss expanding the role of citizen science in federal agencies. The meeting pushed citizen science as a reliable means of collecting data necessary to developing national policies and management decisions and by the end of the meeting most national agencies agreed to make citizen science a greater priority going forward, including increasing national funding for projects and research through the National Science Foundation. One additional outcome of the meeting was the declaration of a National Citizen Science Day by the White House.

 

April 16, 2016 is the first ever nationally recognized day of citizen science, and you can celebrate with the Museum! We are hosting what we hope will become the first annual Citizen Science Fest at Prairie Ridge Ecostation from 10am-4pm on National Citizen Science Day. Our outdoor celebration will give everyone a chance to get involved in citizen science and learn about some great local citizen science efforts.

birdwatching for science

Photo by Chris Goforth

The festival offers three primary components. One is a showcase of local citizen science projects. Visit project tables to learn more about what various groups in the Triangle area and beyond are doing to engage the public in research at their sites. You can learn about several Museum-based projects, but we’ve brought in non-Museum groups as well. Meet the scientists first-hand and learn from the experts! Most of the local showcase participants will be available throughout the festival.

 

We will also offer a variety of scientist-led nature hikes and hands-on experiences. These will be scheduled throughout the day so that you can visit our pond and learn about the aquatic insect research conducted by a local high school, look for ladybugs, bird watch for science, or learn how to survey leaves for the tasty insects that birds love to eat. The guided walks will give you a chance to collect some data and see the inner workings of local and national citizen science projects, many of which you can do on your own right in your own backyard.

Not everyone can get to Prairie Ridge easily, however, so we’ve partnered with other groups to offer the 2016 North Carolina Bioblitz-off statewide on National Citizen Science Day. Each site is competing to see who can document the most plants, animals, and fungi for our Natural North Carolina project. While the winning sites will earn bragging rights, we’ve got some great prizes for the top three individuals in the state, including a Hydroflask water bottle, your choice of field guides, and a hat to support additional outdoor adventures.

green darner dragonfly

Photo by Chris Goforth

Prairie Ridge is competing in the event, so visit our Bioblitz-off table to participate while you’re at the festival, or find another site on the event listing on the Museum website that’s closer to home. You can also participate completely independently if you wish – just register using our online form to let us know you intend to compete!

Please join us for National Citizen Science Day and learn about the many ways that you can get involved in scientific research locally. For more information about the event or the other Bioblitz-off sites, visit the event listing on the Museum’s calendar.  We hope to see you at one or more sites on April 16!

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