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Museum’s First Citizen Science Fest a Success!

April 29, 2016

Citizen Science Day logWe celebrated National Citizen Science Day at the Museum with what we hope will become our first annual Citizen Science Fest on Saturday, April 16. Close to 400 people joined us at Prairie Ridge for a day of guided citizen science hikes, learning, and data collection.

Morning activities included a popular bird banding demonstration for the Neighborhood Nest Watch project, a project now offered in the Triangle Area through the Museum. The Piedmont Wildlife Center showed off their Box Turtle Connection project and visitors learned about ways they will be able to help save Black Walnuts in the upcoming Survey For Thousand Cankers Disease project headed by the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division. The local CoCoRaHS group had visitors shooting water guns to demonstrate how precision rain gauges work and talked about how they can get involved.

Visitors at the Citizen Science Fest

Visitors learn about Caterpillars Count. Photo by Chris Goforth.

We help a variety of citizen science walks in the morning as well. Several people joined the Raleigh Charter High School Research Club at the pond to learn about their research project involving aquatic insects and we had small but enthusiastic groups join us for the bird and biodiversity walks. The afternoon walks were very popular! Close to 30 people joined the Nest Watch walk to observe nesting birds and over 30 walked to the pond to learn about dragonflies.


Meanwhile, several projects had tables set up in our Outdoor Classroom to highlight the work they do. The Museum’s Sparrow Swap, Armpit Microbiome, eMammal, and Dragonfly Detectives teams talked to many people about their projects and how they can get involved. UNC’s Caterpillars Count was only available in the afternoon, but drew in people with live caterpillars to talk about the insect food base for birds and research going on at Prairie Ridge and several other sites in North Carolina and Virginia.

Visitors at the Citizen Science Fest

Visitors learn about Sparrow Swap. Photo by Chris Goforth.

Students from Exploris Middle School oversaw the Prairie Ridge site for the 2016 NC Bioblitz-off. They guided visitors in how to participate and documented many species for our Natural North Carolina project themselves. In spite of their efforts, Prairie Ridge did not win the Bioblitz-off. We’ll post the winners and a summary of that event soon!


Many, many thanks to everyone who exhibited at the first Citizen Science Fest and to all of the visitors who came to learn about citizen science and help us collect data! It was great to have so many people learning and working together to learn more about the world around us for the first ever National Citizen Science Day. We hope to offer this event again in the future, so look for upcoming announcements on the Musuem’s social media, the citizen science newsletter, and here on the blog!

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