April 14 2018 is Citizen Science Day, the start of a week celebrating all the amazing ways that people around the world contribute to science.
Citizen scientists are people like you and me, everyone from school children, to families, to dedicated volunteers, to local nature groups. Some go out into the wild to find and record nature, but you can even do science by joining projects at home.
In case you’ve never heard of Citizen Science before, this video from SciStarter.com will give you an idea of what it’s all about:
Although spring and summer have gotten off to a VERY slow start here in the UK, there are still so many great reasons to explore nature. So, today is the perfect day to get outdoors for some fresh air and become a citizen scientist to help us to answer some big questions about the natural world. Here are just a few of the projects to get you started:
Remember your sunscreen! – get ready for the Big Seaweed Search
Whilst enjoying your next day out at the beach, you can take part in Big Seaweed Search – a nation wide project to study changes in the UK marine environment. Seaweeds provide an underwater habitat, acting as a shelter and food source for thousands of marine creatures, such as urchins and fish.
To complete the survey, you’ll need to look for key seaweed species on the coastline and take photos of what you find . By submitting your data, you can help us learn a lot more about the health of our oceans.
Enter the colourful world of Birds with Project Plumage
What’s your favourite colour? By keeping your eyes peeled for patches of colour, you can help a team of scientists to further understand the bright and beautiful feathers we see in birds today.
Project Plumage is online so there’s no need to get out your binoculars, but you will need a computer with internet connection. To take part simply join project plumage on the Zooniverse . With over 200,000 images of bird skins from the Museum’s collections , there is still lots more to explore. You can even get a glimpse of colours which are invisible to humans, there are 1000s of photos taken under ultraviolet light.
Go deeper and uncover the secrets of the soil with Earthworm Watch
The next time you’re outdoors in a local green space or your garden, why not dig beneath the surface and take part in Earthworm Watch. We want you to uncover earthworms hidden underground and tell us about the type of soils they are living in. Sharing the results of your surveys will help us to understand just how important earthworms are for a healthy earth!
Find nature near you at a Bioblitz
A Bioblitz is a 24 hour nature survey , where you have the chance to go out and find as many species as you can, including everything from plants, to animals, insects and fungi.. This information can be used by scientists, nature conservation organisations and governments to help protect living things and the habitats they depend on.
The Museum will be organising Bioblitz events in the near future, you can find all the details of how to join in at www.nhm.ac.uk/bioblitz.
City Nature Challenge 2018 – a global hunt for nature!
In just 2 weeks, the City Nature Challenge 2018 (27-30 April 2018) will begin! This is a global competition to see which city can find the most nature in just 4 days. Anyone can take part in the challenge sharing your nature observations on iNaturalist. Will you make sure your city wins the challenge?
Anyone in Greater London can add your nature observations an join our project here. If you’re based in the UK you can also take part in Bristol and Plymouth.