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    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Share your thoughts about participating in citizen science in the discussion below. Please address:
      • What citizen-science project did you do?
      • What challenges, if any, did you experience?
      • What learning outcomes might you expect from having your students participate in this project?
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      akleinsorge
      I participated in Project Squirrel.  I found this project very easy and streamlined to participate in!  Students see squirrels all the time, so it wouldn't be something that would be overwhelming for them to take on, and they could start out visualizing themselves as successful.  They wouldn't have to know the name for any animal (we basically only have grey squirrels where I live) and they wouldn't need any special training.  I think this would be a very easy way for them to start observing, which would lead to wondering statements.  Squirrels are so common that we rarely think about them (like much of nature); however, when you start observing deeply it's easy to realize how many questions you might really have.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Banjojanie
      I am participating in eBird. I wonder how will my entries  reveal trends or patterns in species sightings over time? With a new data collection tool on eBird, I am able to enter photos of birds I've taken in our wetland system from the past. The entries log in by the date the photos were taken. This may be a key in helping me to answer a question that has captured my curiosity over the time I have lived on a wetland.
    • Antoinette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      ahatzop
      I participated in the lost ladybug project.  We do spot ladybugs every once in a while especially in spring/summer and even when we return to school and the weather is still warm.  The students always get excited when they see a ladybug and how cool it would be for them to know about this project!  They like taking photographs too!  The challenges would be not finding ladybugs or spending days and days looking for them.  Since this is fairly simple, it would give us the opportunity to participate in one or two more citizen science projects.  I would expect my students to learn that they can help scientists, contribute to research and how we can help keep our ladybug population and why they are important.  The website is very easy to navigate, with a lot of resources and interesting information!
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      bschieman
      I participated in eBird at a local hotspot nearby. I observed that despite the large amount of water there in swamp and lake form, there were not a lot of waterfowl in the water. We did however see great numbers of swallows. One of our challenges was trying to correctly identify between two kinds of swallows and trying to get an accurate count, since so many birds were constantly moving in a large group! This can be discouraging, especially since you want your count to be perfect for the larger scientific community using this data! If my students did a similar study, we would have to find ways to discuss dealing with frustrations and the discomfort of not being perfect.  Also, what can we do to mitigate our errors as citizen scientists? Questions about migration might also come up, since I would think they might predict seeing lots of waterfowl in an area with two different bodies of water as the main geographical element in the hotspot.
    • Deanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      DeannaW
      I have been having a lot of fun in the past week with Seek and iNaturalist. I helped a college student with her ecology project at a local NMS with Seek. Challenges-- 1. Seek sometimes could not identify  a plant-- some that I knew the common name. We would try many times 2. Students are not allowed to have phones out in elementary school nor can they take them on a field trip. 3. Getting parents to do it with their child. I want to explore Monarch Larva Monitoring Project with my students to participate and input data... (not this fall with school data due to DL)
      • Anna
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        akleinsorge
        I like iNaturalist in my everyday life, too, but I agree that there are difficulties to using it.  Seek and iNaturalist both sometimes have trouble identifying things that have pretty clear pictures, and kids aren't going to get the best pictures, even with training on it.  We're one-to-one with students iPads, however, the iPads won't connect to the internet outside of our school building.  They can take pictures and upload them in the building, but it's not quite as easy as it would be to do it all at once, and it might interrupt some of the kids' enthusiasm.
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      MIFRANKO88
      I have not used a specific citizen science project with my students. I have been hoping to use e-bird to help with our field survey around the school. Last year we received our materials (binoculars, etc.) but was unable to use them with the school closure. This year we are figuring out ways to adapt our field survey to fit the current state of our school, whether it be virtually or in-person. I think the biggest challenge is equity -- finding a project that allows all students to be involved regardless of the type of phone they have or their access to the internet.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      Pam Hosimer
      I tried Budburst and I love the focus of their citizen science projects but I did not think the site was laid out well or user friendly. I had to access the site by typing in www.Budburst.org rather than finding a link on the website of the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG), who they are affiliated with. I had to dig down into CBG’s website to even find a link to Budburst, and it was hard to locate. Once I made it through all that frustration discovered a hidden page where I could take my collected data and input it onto the site. I think they need to develop an APP for this project which would make collecting and uploading the data easier. I would need to work with this site more before I would suggest this project for a classroom because I think finding the data would be too confusing.
    • David Lockett
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      DavidLockett
      I also downloaded e-Bird and am taking the e-Bird Essentials course. Central Florida has productive ecosystems that can support a variety of birds. It is home to productive ecosystems that can support a variety of birds. This is beneficial to not only student understanding but from an educator as well. We have participated in various Globe Projects to build citizen science understanding.
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      jmckenna
      I chose to participate in eBird. My husband and I went kayaking on the bay last Sunday at 6:00pm. I was surprised with how little birds we saw and were able to identify. There were a few gulls flying overhead but I could not differentiate the species. On the way back to the beach at about 7:45pm we saw two beautiful great egrets at the shore line near the reeds. These birds were much larger and still so it was easier to identify them.   This birding experience was challenging because the kayaks were moving and it was so difficult to look through binoculars while on the kayak because of the current. There is a path along the shore road I will try to walk next time and participate. I think it will be much easier to observe and identify while on dry land.   Using the Merlin Bird ID application was very helpful. I wasn't sure if the bird I saw was a heron or egret but was later able to determine it was an egret using the app.   I think having my students participate in this project has made them excited about science and excited to learn about native birds. Teaching them the power of observation is key to this project and may take more time than I originally thought. I have created native bird guides that I use with my students when we go out birding. This narrows things down for them and allows them to more easily identify what they see. It is always fun when there is a "mystery bird" that is not on our field guide. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HmeyjLtKW6_SfiAjBC65a1lBiOU-cKrs/view?usp=sharing
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Sylvia_Qualls
      I participated in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP). It is rather detailed in terms of documenting your area. I had to go out and measure. They track temperature, but I just used my cell phone for that info because I don't keep a thermometer outside. The MLMP also have videos to help train yourself. I watched several videos about how to determine what instar phase the caterpillars are in. This was helpful and a lot of new information for me, but very practical. They have different monitoring sheets you can use depending on how you want to track data, whether it is just 1 event or regular data collection. I was also very curious how many caterpillars I have in my garden, and I wanted to spend some time seeing if I could find any chrysalids ( I found 2, and then 2 caterpillars J-hanging) along with the 30 other caterpillars I found in my garden. It was hard to find eggs, partly because our native plant species Asclepias fascicularis has thin leaves and so it takes a loooooong time to look under each leaf for eggs. Usually, when Monarchs come around, I follow them after they visit a plant to see where they put their eggs. Right now it has been much cooler, foggy and with misty rain earlier in the morning and day. So temperatures are cooler and I haven't been seeing any Monarch butterflies. What is interesting this year is the record number of caterpillars in my garden and how they are all on the A. fascicularis. In the past, I usually find the caterpillars on the Asclepias speciosa, but not this year. My native garden is more established and I also have more fascicularis than speciosa now. I wonder if this has an effect on how easily the Monarchs can find the plants? I have a lot of aphids on all my Asclepias now but that wasn't the case a few weeks ago. I also wonder if that made it difficult for me to find any eggs. All the eggs (2) I found were  on speciosa. The caterpillars are just devouring my plants, so I am wondering how many of them will make it to the chrysalid stage. Most of the caterpillars I found were in late 3rd instar phase (10), 7 in 4th instar phase, and 9 in 5th instar phase. Oh I only found 2 caterpillars on the Asclepias speciosa total. Today was the first time I document Monarch observations in my garden, but I have been going out to watch them for weeks now. I have been very intrigued by their behavior, because I usually go out and look at them in the late afternoon and one of the things I notice is that in the evenings quite a few of them leave the Asclepias plants and go off to other plants that are not Asclepias. I have found them on the Hummingbird Sage, Cercis and California Asters even when they are not in 5th instar. I wonder what they are doing? Are they ready to molt? Are they trying to camouflage themselves for the evening?  I can see how important it is to look at data over time to get a clearer indication of what the data means.
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      allisonmurphy
      I did the Great Sunflower Project. While I use iNaturalist and participate in citizen science projects that require photo observations, I love finding projects that do not require photos with your observations. Working in a park, I don't have technology that I can share with a large group of people and we often do drop-off programs that don't involve the parents or their phones. This makes it hard to do many citizen science projects, but I'm very excited to try out the Great Sunflower Project and even eBird with a group of students. I noticed while doing my count that it might be a little difficult to identify a pollinator while keeping up with other pollinator species coming and going. It might help to do this project with a group of kids or in pairs. I expect the students to see many more species of pollinators than they would have expected and to be curious about their behaviors, flying from flower to flower. It's also always great to teach and reinforce the importance of pollinators. This can be a great activity to spark "I Wonder" questions!
    • Edna
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      wvteacher87
      I downloaded e-Bird and am taking the e-Bird Essentials course.  My students will be able to use e-Bird on their iPads at school.  Since all students have iPads this will not be a problem if we are back in the classroom in the fall.  (Challenge) Otherwise, if we continue with remote learning, my percentage of student participation will be affected due to lack of devices and/or wifi. With e-Bird, I plan on forming an Early Bird Club which is an idea that I am borrowing from another post I read earlier in the course.  We will research the best types of birdhouses and bird baths for our location.  We can tap into local resources to help with identifying what is best for our playground.  We have WVU Extension Service in Parkersburg, WV and Bird Watchers Digest in Marietta, OH.  Modern Woodmen provides free binoculars each year for students and I have several sets of higher end binoculars acquired through grants.   Some of the learning outcomes will be students learning to identify species of birds, become familiar with species common in our area, record observations carefully distinguishing actual observations (sight, sound), discuss characteristics which help identify certain species, share our data via classroom e-Bird, and discuss notes after each birding adventure.
    • ej
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      tejer!
      Project: I was most curious about CoCoRahs, but that required ordering a rain gauge, so will have to wait til one arrives... Meanwhile, I did BudBurst which was pretty straightforward. You do need to register to enter data, but then can start doing so immediately. You could actually print off blank report sheets and start collecting data before registering. Registration was quick and it was easy to start entering data from just reading through the basic 1-2-3 overview, though the “Get Started” overview was much more thorough. Challenges: A big challenge I often face with online learning opportunities (which includes many citizen science projects) is finding ones that do not require smartphones or tablets due to regularly having a fair number of participants who don't have or use them and/or working in tight time frames where dealing with tech can eat up a considerable amount of limited time. BudBurst had reasonable balance between high & low tech options. Participants note the species, location, and phenological phase of one or more particular plant. On one end, they could use a smartphone, photograph & upload a plant photo, and enter and submit the data immediately. On the other end BudBurst provides printable report sheets for gathering the same data which one could merely use for their own personal observations and data analysis. And there are many options in between - skip the photo altogether; take photo with a regular camera and upload; collect data on paper (using their forms or creating your own) and upload later. In any case, they can then access their personal data or the BudBurst database to analyze data, identify trends, etc. One other potential challenge - having looked over much of the website, I only noticed photos of plants in full flower, but not photos/illustrations of the plants in their different phases which could be limiting in terms of definitively identifying it before it reaches a clearly identifiable stage (depending on time, ages, and resources). Learning outcomes: At a very basic level, BudBurst resources could be used to teach participants observation skills including how to recognize general and species specific phenophases. Participants could also collect and report phenophase data, use observation or collected data to compare phenophase data by species, location, season, year, habitat, or some growing conditions and analyze potential similarities/differences. Particpants could cross reference with other available data (e.g. weather and compare to weather+phenological phases of different years. Participants could develop theories and further analyze data or design experiments to determine conditions that might affect phenophase timing.
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      JackieScott
      I used Seek. It was super easy to use. I was able to identify several plants and an insect. Even as an adult, I was getting excited about getting my badges. It was also neat to be able to have some things only being labeled as a dicot or insect. I definitely will need to spend some time explaining this to students. The first challenge I thought might be an issue would be having my students who are English Language Learners (ELLs). I really liked seeing the different language options. I had several students this past year that were struggling with their English skills. I think this would be a great introduction to citizen scientist concepts. I think making sure that students take good pictures and that the better the picture the more information can be recorded.  
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Lingibbs63
      Our land trust runs a feeder watch program similar to Project Feeder Watch, but in an abbreviated time frame in the spring, and then we encourage participants to sign up for Feeder Watch the following fall. I have been responsible for the program just these two past years, with drastically different outcomes. In 2018 we concentrated mainly on school classrooms and homeschool groups in a limited portion of our region due to staff resources. In 2019, we started with the same audience, but throughout the region, then pivoted to doing things online with anyone who wanted to participate. Based on both experiences, I am looking forward to developing a set of year-round activities that encourage people to continue learning beyond feeder watching, and that involve using eBird and other online citizen science apps. I have used eBird myself to begin documenting observation on our wildlife sanctuary property. I have a lot of learning and practice to do, but intend on incorporating it into more of our programs in general, as well as offering more specific programs focusing on the many apps available. Combining non-screen experiences such as nature journaling and citizen science apps as well help everyone to better connect with nature and the environment - all ages, all abilities, all backgrounds. Non-screen approaches allow those without equipment such as a smart phone or iPad to feel that they can also contribute to the process.
      • ej
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        tejer!
        I whole-heartedly agree on the inclusion of non-screen approaches. I often work with groups including members who can't, don't, or won't use portable devices due to age, financial, connectivity, technological, philosophical,  privacy, or other concerns. But many of these audiences (retirees, rural families, traditional homeschoolers) have the time, dedication, and interest in being active observers/data collectors/citizen science participants.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Ladyhawk85
      I did Planet Four: Ridges I examined photos of Mars for two types of ridges: polygonal ridges and Meridiani type. I was wondering if I really was reading the terrain correctly and kept comparing the photos with the comfirmed pictures in the begining. It was a little nerve wracking but fun at the same time. The outcome for my students that I would expect: I would hope that they would feel it was worth while and that they were making a difference. I would hope that they would be excited and question. I would hope they would enjoy the experience.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      jenna132
      While I haven't yet participated in a Citizen Science project, I am taking this course in anticipation of being able to complete at least one with my students.  Given what I know so far about 6th grade Science, (I have previously taught 3-5 grade Science), I know that we will be studying the Rock Cycle, Weather, and Outer Space.  I am hoping to get involved in the Clouds Citizen Science project.  I would also love any guidance in finding others that work with these topics.  I've been looking a bit but haven't found much.
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        wvteacher87
        I attended an online workshop in May with Joshua Revels through our Fairmont, WV NASA location.  He provided one of the best sessions about clouds.  It was centered around GLOBE.  He shared many resources.  This was focused on elementary, but I am sure some of the information would easily transfer to 6th grade.  This is their website: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ivv/home/index.html.
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        wvteacher87

        @Edna GLOBE website:  https://observer.globe.gov/do-globe-observer/clouds

    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      CoachGoody17
      *disclaimer- I am not selecting an above project due to my location- For this response- I am basing it on one of my previous experiences. "Bio-Cube" (a project spin-off of the one square meter project) is one I performed with a group in the Amazon at 4 different locations at the ACTS research Station. (Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies) and I modified this project to be done with my Global Environmental Issues course. The challenges of collecting and reporting data in a remote location are tremendous.  I communicate a few times a year with the program head about "how do we collect meaningful data which can be recorded over time in a way where we can look at trends." I think that project, while tremendously valuable for students, seems unattainable at times, when you are confined to an 11 day experience and are continually moving from one location to another where the focus is something entirely different at each location. I want to have an experience where my students can be immersed in biodiversity, culture,  and service, but the scientist in my is like- let's just stay here at ACTS and be scientists! It is a struggle and one I hope to make better before my next trip there with students.... (whenever that will be).  The students worked in teams, collected data on the biodiversity, weather/atmospheric conditions, etc... and participated in a reflection activity post field work- But the recording of that data alongside the congested work space on is using to collect and report the data to each other was a challenge.  They didn't mind the environmental conditions, more so the fact that they couldn't all get down to look inside this tiny little biocube.  When I returned I modified a similar activity where I had 1 meter square dowels made.  While the space was bigger, they complained that their biodiversity was limited... Which did lead to some great conversations about rural vs suburban areas and how over time, biodiversity in natural places are being relocated, habitats demolished, etc. I suppose having the suburban discussion was one in which drives the point that industrialization, human impact, and the economy take precedence over our natural spaces.  The students had the a-ha moment of realizing that we invaded their homes and that spider/ant/plant actually do belong here and it was humans who have mostly impacted the rate of environmental destruction. This also poses the question- how do we connect/enhance/foster conservation and preservation of our natural spaces better so that we can bring this same awareness to others? Overall, it fails in the mission of sharing what a biodiverse place our earth can be... but succeeds in the mission of making them realize that humans are destroying it and humans can help re-build it.
    • Alaina
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      AlainaYoung
      While this was not a project we have discussed, this weekend I actually worked to organize a Loon Census in partnership with the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. We had a record 70 people sign up, and I distributed forms for them to collect their data across the region in different waterbodies. The main challenge was ensuring that none of the locations overlapped so that loons were not counted twice. I also will be challenged once I receive everyone's data, as I will be combining it all and creating one regional reference map to share with the ADK Center. As far as learning outcomes, participants learned: 1. How to make observations 2. How to observe wildlife from a distance without disturbing their behavior 3. How to record and report data 4. Where loons are present at the census time Once all the data is compiled, participants will learn the distribution of Common Loons throughout the state, which behaviors were most commonly spotted, the average number of loon chicks at this date and time, and that their contributions are valuable!
    • Nikki
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      mswallacexth
      I am exploring ways in which my science department can incorporate citizen science in the classroom. Last school year, I had the students participate in bird observations and answering questions about the traits of their dogs and cats. I am looking forward to doing the water experiments and possible teaching trout in the classroom for the delta region of where I live. I just need to make sure that the projects are of interest to my students.
    • Nini
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      Ninich
      I haven't spent much time this week on using the described apps.  I do take a lot of photographs of plants and so I used iNaturalist to identify a plant.  I wondered about accuracy and whether species living in an alpine environment might be different than what was named.  I can imagine that using Seek would be a way to engage our elementary students in finding out what is living on the trail next to their playground.  This could lead to developing signs giving information about the plants or making a field guide.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      Curious621
      I had been introduced to iNaturalist before but tried out Seek for this assignment and loved it!  I scanned several plants around my yard.  I earned two new badges, one for Common Lamb's-quarter and one for my dog!!!  One problem was that sometime species were hard to identify, possibly because there were many other overlapping species.  Another was that the identifications varied in terms of their specificity.  However, my students would love using this around the schoolyard and could learn more about making observations, classification terminology, local species, etc.  Super fun!seekpic
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      maroberts64
      I signed up for the MLMP (Monarch Larva Monitoring Project), since we have a couple milkweed plants in our patio garden. It takes a little bit of time to set up your site(s) and to navigate through to figure out what to do. One of the observations asks for temperature in the shade but we do not have an outside thermometer, so I used my WeatherBug. Another activity asks for rainfall, so I skipped that activity for now. I did find five live eggs on our plants, which I recorded. We did not have larvae, but I did see that it asks for instars (stages) of any larvae, which I promptly Googled. Besides fumbling through navigation, the project is pretty easy and flexible to your time schedule. One of the activities calls for collecting larvae or eggs and bringing them inside to observe for survivability. In Ohio, we mail ordered painted lady caterpillars to raise and release...I find that bringing native eggs in to observe to be much more connecting to our environment, and more relevant to our practices. I also think that this project would open up more questions from students about monarchs, milkweeds, and their surrounding environment. I would expect students to become more interested in the relationship between insects and plants, and become better observers of things that they might not normally pay any attention to. I would also expect students to try and catch monarchs in the act of laying eggs, and for them to expand this experience to other insects and animals with other plants. While looking at our plants, we saw a Gulf Fritillary (thank you to my Seek app) on our passion flower, ergo and therefore called the passion butterfly! Questions and observations lead to more questions. So, even though this is a patio garden, I can see where it would be easy to experience real science, asking questions, making observations, and creating experiments. To wrap up my wordy post, I could see students documenting data, size, drawing or taking pictures, writing and presenting. We're (teachers) learning along with them, but it definitely is important that we set up our project for success with the right tools and preparation, and that we guide our students to keep them on track.passion butterfly
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        maroberts64
        PS - I earned my bronze insect badge on Seek with this observation :)
    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      j.hardy
      I have tried out Seek, I have used iNaturalist before and love it, but thought that since you need to have an account for it that I would try Seek as students would not be required to create an account. Seek is very similar and will answer students' questions about "What is that?" but it also gives them just enough details to help encourage further questions and reference readings. I believe with our county students doing joint remote and in-classroom learning this year that this would be greatly beneficial to students. However, I know that with us having many impoverished students that internet access would be difficult for some students. A hopeful learning outcome is that not only students would be involved and teachers but parents would also become involved as well as any siblings.
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        Curious621
        Yes!  I teach high schoolers but could see this as something that my students would share with their families and I love that!  People of all ages could use Seek and have fun with it!
    • Cara
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      carafern
      I tried Ebird for this discussion. I always find that when using Ebird, I try to commit my time and energy to locating every species - but sometimes I am challenged by not observing a species even if it was on another's checklist that very same day. I always try to remind myself though that this is a good thing, a mini "failure" that can improve data or make it more real for scientists. Perhaps it's the time of day that I am birding, or the temperature, or the presence of a predator species in the area - and that's why I didn't observe the meadowlark. I would expect students to learn similarly to the soil experiments that an absence in data doesn't mean it's not valuable.
    • Robin
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Salthouser
      I have been collecting data for the Great Sunflower Project (greatsunflower.org). The project asks that you monitor a flowering plant for at least 5 minutes, and then record the number and type of pollinators you see during that time period. The information can be directly input through the organizations' website or you can use a paper data collection sheet, and write the information down for later input. Challenges have included identifying plants and bees. The project has aids to help with identification, and it isn't necessary to indicate the specific bee or hummingbird species. Same is true for the plants, but if I were using this with a class it might be nice to be familiar with the plants the class would be observing. The outcomes will probably cause students to ask questions about the different bees or butterflies they might be observing. Why are some plants more attractive to the pollinators than others, and possibly many other questions. I would hope students would become more interested in the different type of pollinators, and learn more about them as living organisms. They might want to extend the observations to a gardening project to help attract more to their school, camp, etc. Students may even want to consider the food that needs pollination. Things I like about the project: data sheets are provided for later data entry, especially important if students can't or don't have a Great Sunflower Project account or access to computers and Internet.  The website also has a number of interdisciplinary educational resources, and lots of related children's book titles. I could also see combining this project with Seek or iNaturalist to expand into plant and animal identification.
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        maroberts64
        This sounds like a great activity! I would definitely have to have a camera handy for identification. It would also be cool to try this inside with a webcam on a plant.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63

        @Mark Thanks for sharing your experience with the sunflower project.  We grow sunflowers in our backyard and am looking forward to taking part this year.

    • Kristen Mae
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      kmaecarpenter
      I have tried out Seek this week and enjoyed it. I think that students would also enjoy being able to identify things. One of the main questions I get while in the field is "what is that?!" However, many times phones are not allowed on field trips and if they are, they can become a problem. We also try to use the time to get away from screens completely, so I do not believe apps are something we could implement into our field studies.   However, we try to send back take-home activities with the students after their field trip with us is complete. We use the activities to try and engage the parents with what the students learned and bring environmental education/stewardship into the home. I could add the download of Seek to a take-home activity and turn it into a collaboration between students and their parents: how many badges can you get before your next field study? We are always looking for ways to get parents more involved and keep a student's environmental exploration going even after they go back home.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 41
      Acorn Woodpecker
      I have participated and led NestWatch with volunteers in a former position.  This spring I volunteered as a NestWatch monitor for a local park district.  NestWatch is a CS project that tracks nesting birds and offers numerous educational resources and protocol to support volunteers doing this CS work.   NestWatch also offers an online data base for data collection. As a volunteer, I checked six nest boxes at a local park at least weekly or more often if a nest was started in the boxes. .  This experience allowed me to get outdoors and focus on something other than the pandemic which was a welcome distraction.  It was nice to spend time doing this work.  Due to past experience leading this activity with volunteers professionally, I had the knowledge of the birds using the nest boxes which may the biggest challenge to this project. Monitoring involved nest boxes that are suitable for Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows and House Wrens primarily.  Nest boxes narrow the scope of what students need to learn.  NestWatch provides an opportunity to witness the development of these birds and understand their life cycles.  Student interests and inquiry can lead them to investigate more about the birds they are monitoring.   The challenge of this project is the time commitment since you follow the nesting cycles of birds takes weeks to months.   Eastern Bluebirds have more than one brood per season. In addition, there is a cost of building the boxes and placing them in the appropriate habitat that is nearby and accessible.  This could be done on a schoolyard natural area and involve other classes like shop or woodworking..  The outcomes for the students are multiple.  Students gain observational and analytic skills through the activity.  They also are disciplined to follow scientific protocols to protect birds and record quality data.   They are given an intimately window into how fragile yet resilient birds are by watching parent birds care and nurture their eggs nestlings.  The experience is memorable and remarkable.  It is something to watch.
      • Sara
        Participant
        Chirps: 30
        SaraPi
        Kathleen I love that you suggest this could be an entire school project, from science to shopclass! With school admin support this integrated approach would be a game changer for a LOT of public schools. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    • Veronica
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      vhorton
      I did the Project Feeder Watch citizen science project for a 2 day observation cycle of the live bird feeder cam in the Cornell Lab Sapsucker Woods.  I have attached the tally sheet. It was very exciting to watch the various birds that are visiting this bird feeder. I am hoping to observe it more on my own. One challenge which I over came was the fact that I was not familiar with a few of the bird species. At first I confused the Grackle with the Crow. So I really learned about differentiating the species and paying careful attention to the sizes, colors, and markings on birds that look similar. A small challenge I experienced was actually counting the birds while there is so much movement around the bird feeder. I might expect students to learn the importance of using your sense of sight to observe. I might also expect students to learn how to carefully observe and describe things in nature by color, size, markings, patterns, and other traits to compare and contrast. In addition I might expect students to see the value of such an activity and understand how their participation in it serves a greater goal beyond the classroom.   Bird Feeder Observation Tally Sheet
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        maroberts64
        When we lived in Ohio farm country, we put up a few different feeders. It was so fun to watch and see our visitors while we sat on the porch with our coffee! We definitely miss that.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63

        @Mark I coordinate a similar spring feeder watch program for my land trust employer, and find that it's a fabulous activity for all types of people. This year we had to pivot to online resources (rather than in-person support) and had more participation than ever before, due to so many people home and looking for interesting things to do! We had kids as young as 3 and adults in their 80s watching birds and learning so much. I am working to develop a full-year of curriculum resources for all ages in order to get more people engaged in conservation.

    • Alana
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      C.cyaneus
      I have been using Seek by iNaturalist since last week's introductory meeting and am really enjoying it. I like how it will bring up suggestions for where you are and what else to look for. So far, I have no complaints about its ease of use. I can see how the various badges that are acquired could help to motivate students to keep looking. It helps to introduce Kingdom Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus & Species to budding naturalists. I am a bit old fashioned and love a really good guide book, but I feel like the app and a guide book could compliment each other, with the photo being used for identification and the guide book helping to supplement information about the finding. I do think that its use is limited in lower income schools, as you need access to the app and a phone/camera.
    • Phanh
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      phanhnguyen
      • I tried eBirds
      • Challenges: Identification, quality of binoculars.
      • Learning outcomes: this will help my students pay more attention to their environment, learning to identify birds will definitely helps them create the habit of careful observations, and watching birds will help stimulate questions that can be further explored.
      • Other notes: Even though I have difficulties with bird identification, I do have concerns about bird ID apps, as I feel that I don't learn as much with ID apps in generals. My other concerns (for other projects as well) is the need for mobile phones (to take pictures, submit data, take location). My students might not have access to smartphones, and there might be concerns with privacy. I found the setup for Globe at Night web submission simple and accessible. It's nice to find some projects that accept data from anywhere in the world, but a lot of the ones I'm interested in (plants, phenology, weather, insects...) are specific to North America. I'd appreciate if anyone has suggestions about doing CS outside of North America.
    • Sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      SaraPi
      I'm a huge iNaturalist fan so for the sake of time, I used this for my discussion My challenge with iNaturalist is grabbing a good photo. Using my expeience, a few photos are necessary for ID, and even more photos for plant ID. For this reason, I think it's important to go over how to take a good photo and what angles/shots you need in order to get a research grade ID. There is so much to learn! I would like to use this project with a student group to track the movements of invasive species. This would be a perfect tie in with Globe Observer so students could investigate how weather impacts almost everything, including the movement north by invasive lizards in Florida. With this, I think apps that are easy to use, like iNat, show students that observation and inquiry can happen ANYWHERE. Beyond adding observations, I'd like to teach students how to interpret citizen science data for their own investigations.
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        I hope to try iNaturalist after hearing about your experience and the presentation today.  Thank you.
    • Kathy Nerdy Birdies
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      kbalman
      I chose to do eBird because I already submit data 1-2 times a week. I am rather addicted to eBird and love that it is quick and simple to log data. I even use the app on my short walks to the mailbox.  I don't have any challenges with this project,  other than its 115 degrees and the birds are not super active mid day. I have taught students as young as 5 yrs old how to use eBird. There are so many great tutorials on using this program and the data that is collected is used by many organizations around the world. I have heard people question the protocols of eBird and have heard several people say that eBird has no checks and balances, which is so far from the truth. I can tell you that eBird has reviewers all over the world,  each state in the USA has several and these folks are volunteers who set up parameters, monitor the data, email eBirders for clarification, etc. I have actually not seen many other citizen science programs that put so much effort into making sure the data is accurate. They also allow you to enter historical data, before their inception. I have noticed people in the other posts mentioning that idying birds was difficult. I highly recommend the Merlin and Audubon apps. Again I have taught 5 yr olds how to use Merlin. Also if you know you saw a hummingbird but didn't know the exact type you can just enter the data as hummingbird sp.? Having data even if its just a generic species is still helpful. Also eBird populates your bird list based on your geographical area and also what others have seen. So for example if you live in the desert you won't see seagull on your list, or it will be marked as rare, so you know it is probably not that bird. You can also you can record and upload bird calls now on eBird. There are so many learning outcomes with eBird....for example analyzing migratory birds and when they are arriving and leaving AZ, abundance of bird species in the area you are exploring, determining if providing birdseed, nectar or water attracts more birds or different bird species, planning a vacation around seeing a lifelist bird, seeing if a bird species has historically always been in your state, seeing if the arrival and departure times of a migratory bird have changed over the last 30 yrs (climate change related) etc.
    • Smriti
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Smriti Safaya
      Just a note to Cornell Lab course organizers - all but 1 of the listed CitSci projects in Lesson 1 are geared primarily for North American audiences.  Unfortunately some of the GLOBE projects don't recognize my location (Hong Kong) either, so that wasn't all that helpful.  It would be great to add truly global projects in the list as well to cater to a wide range of people who would be keen to learn from the Cornell Lab.
      • I used iNaturalist, as I've been using it for years personally and with students.
      • Very few issues as it is a very streamlined app and the smartphone and web-based versions are very user-friendly for all ages.
      • Learning outcomes: building curiosity about how much nature actually exists around them, their school, their home, feeling connected to a community of like-minded nature-curious people and with experts, which drives motivation to contribute; developing their own questions - some that could be answered by investigating the database within iNaturalist, beginning to recognize that observations wasn't just a 'thing that happens at school', but was a skill that extended beyond school walls, data analysis allows for deeper questions and follow-up action to be considered: i.e. conservation status and local action for certain species, opportunities for service learning with particular NGOs working on similar issues, etc.
      • Jennifer
        Moderator
        Chirps: 1
        Jennifers
        Thank you for this suggestion, Smriti. We regularly update our project list as things change quickly, and we'll keep this in mind for next time!
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      amyeroche1
      I participated in a Painted Lady Butterfly CSP through the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles.  It was pretty easy and straight forward, so I didn't experience too many challenges.  They were definitely invested in it because it was a real, scientific study. I've also participated in the Great Christmas Bird count with my students.  This was made easier by joining up with an Audubon count at a local nature center.  I was nervous about us being able to accurately identify birds and so it was nice doing it with experts. This February I was gearing my class up to try the Backyard Bird Count, but decided to just collect the data for in-class use.  I found that students were pretty good at identifying local birds at this point, but they became competitive and made up wild stories about different birds they saw. With younger kids I'm worried about collecting accurate data.  Next year, I will spend more time on the importance of accuracy and will create a class account with eBird.
    • Kandis
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Kandis+1
      iNaturalist is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic Society.  iNaturalist can help you identify almost anything you can find in nature. But as I researched further within the site and read the teachers guide, I think the SEEK part of the app would be more beneficial for beginners using this application.   It is an easy to use app, and if limited on devices youth could take pictures on 1 or two devices and later share them to the app via computer.  I know when teaching having devices and connectivity is always an issue.  It includes birds, plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects etc. It is part social media, part science tool. Users submit observations to a community of scientists and naturalists who can assist with identification. iNaturalist itself will generate accurate suggestions of your observations which can then be verified by the community. You can include as little or as much information as you have making it very user friendly. If all you know is that you are seeing a plant that is what you can say. If you know the plant is a tree you can include that and if you know the tree is an evergreen you can include that as well. iNaturalist is designed to meet users where they are and builds a sense of community sharing.  Introducing kids to this application would allow them to continue learning on their own time, allowing them to continue to ask questions because they have a tool to help them find answers.  It also is perfect for all grade levels, teaching youth k-12 can be difficult because you are always thinking of ways to meet all your students’ needs, this tool is so easy that anyone can use it! Things to remember: Teachers working with younger kids need to keep in mind that the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 means we can't allow people under the age of 13 in the United States to create accounts without parental approval. You can have all youth put in the same location if you are collecting data around a certain area and that will help users sort other’s projects.
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        Good tip about the Online Privacy Protection Act.  Thank you.
    • Annette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      AnnetteSteele
      I participated in  the Greater NC Spring Biothon 2020. The project was simply to take pictures of biomass in and around the area where I live.  There were 2,651 observations recorded and 1007 species identified between 26 people. The data showed exactly which species we were  seeing most and least of ( Eastern Grey squirrel was spotted the most). It was very easy to take part in and I am sure that even my youngest Kindergarten students can participate.  I spent  a month taking hikes and actively searching for species wherever I went. I  even roped in the entire family and everyone was always on the lookout for plants, insects and creatures of any kind. I think it was a good way to start working on observations and I liked the fact that other participants were able to help me identify some of my unknown species. I think the inaturalist platform is a good starting point before advancing to another citizen science project. I think it can help foster awareness, observations and inquiry. I like how you can set up a challenge and it can be customized for my class / school.
    • Dianne
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      dhaley1
      The Citizen-Science project I chose to participate in was Project FeederWatch.  To begin, I printed out the smaller version of the Common Feeder Birds poster and Tally Sheet.  I observed and recorded Day 1, morning and Day 1, afternoon numbers.  Being new to bird watching one of the challenges I faced was identifying the birds.  The common birds in my area were easily identified such as Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay and Black-capped Chickadee, but there was a bird I could not easily identify.  I plan to reach out to my administration and ask for support to formally join Project FeederWatch for our school.  By participating in this project, I would like my students to not only develop their inquiry and observation skills, but also ignite their love of nature and caring for our planet, Earth.
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      michelle_quezada
      The citizen science project I participated in was eBird. One challenge I found while participating was identifying the species. I am new to birding and found that I was continously checking that my observations matched up with the characteristics of the bird species I identified. This had me take my time to make careful observations and then go back and check again. I did set up a camera to help me go back and use as a resource in case the bird left before I was able to identify it. I would expect my students to improve their observation skills by participating in this project. Students will have to compare key features of the bird with that of different species and check the traits multiple times. Students will also have to engage in discussion with their group to come to a consensus about the species. This will include students using evidence to support their claim of the species they observed.
      • Kandis
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        Kandis+1
        Merlin Bird ID- By Cornell Lab of Ornithology can help with identification.  I have not used in a while but you answer 5 short easy questions about what you saw and Merlin will offer suggestions on identification including detailed pictures, sounds and range maps. This might be helpful and a good way for kids to choose birds they do not know instead of skipping over them. Kandis
    • Vanessa
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      CPAWS-Education
      - eBird - I experienced a challenge to identify birds - Discussion: inquiry questions such as : I wonder where the birds are going, I wonder how far they have travelled. This could lead to a variety of cross-curricular projects and studies.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      alrichardson
      For this activity I searched the SciStarter Project Finder and chose to do a citizen science project called Project Squirrel.  This activity had me select a date and specific time of day to observe the squirrels from an area of my choice.  I specified the type and of number of squirrels I found, what type of trees were surrounding the area, and answered some other questions to provide this site with more detailed information about my surroundings.  I did not encounter any challenges with this citizen science project. If my students were to participate in this project I could see this turning into something we could do at school and something that they could do at home with their families.  The variables involved would make for some interesting discussion. (Were any of the trees around the observation site nut bearing?  Are there bird feeders in the area?  Are dogs, cats, coyotes, or other wild animals around this area that might affect the number of squirrels you see?)  Making observations throughout the different seasons would be interesting to compare as well.  In my own experience we see many more squirrels in the fall when our oak tree drops acorns.  This was a citizen science project had clear directions and would be something my first graders would love to participate in.  This would also connect well to our Animal Survival unit. ProjectSquirrel
    • Johanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      jdelwood
      I am not reporting to any of the citizen science projects that were discussed in Lesson 1.  I would come closest to participating in FeederWatch.   There is a feeder in our yard that I watch often to see the different species of birds that are coming to the feeder.  I also spend time watching interactions between the birds at the feeder.  I was recently introduced to eBird and am interested in taking part in eBird.  Participating in either of these projects would give students an opportunity to connect more to their natural surroundings.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      LauraYoung
      I am a contributor to eBird. One challenge I face is identifying birds accurately, especially when it is a bird I can only see briefly or from a distance, or one I've never seen before. Since I'm new to birding, another challenge is contributing more "rare" birds and being fully certain when you've identified a bird -- for example, we were pretty sure we saw a black-chinned hummingbird in a tree, but didn't feel completely positive about it. I expect that students who participate in this project would strengthen their observational skills.
      • Michelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        michelle_quezada
        I agree that it can be difficult to identify species, especially as a newly to birding. I found that setting a camera up allows me to observe and not worry as much if the bird is going to fly away before I identify it. It also lets me go back and make observations I might have missed initially.
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich

        @Michelle Great idea about the camera.  Was it a motion sensor camera?

      • Kandis
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        Kandis+1
        Try Merlin Bird ID- By Cornell Lab of Ornithology to help with identification.  You answer 5 short easy questions about what you saw and Merlin will offer suggestions on identification including detailed pictures, sounds and range maps. If you have youth work in pairs, both apps could be opened at the same time and it may help with remembering observations, because we know birds are sometimes in and out fast.
    • Elisabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      evhartman
      I participate annually in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. As far as challenges, weather was an issue, and can be in this region that time of year. Learning outcomes would be bird id, habitat preferences, song id, migratory birds?- we could decide how best to find answers, whether via references (field guides), looking at existing data (past bird count info), observing (what birds are where) and could try experimentation (what birds will respond to noise to call them in)
    • Tamara
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      tamicrow
      IMG_2863 I did a one time observation for Budburst.com. I sent in pictures and point in life cycle of a dandelion for both flowers and fruit. I had difficulty getting the pictures uploaded and with my internet connection. A problem that I anticipate my students might have is figuring out how to match a common plant name with a scientific name. They will also need to find out latitude and longitude of their location. It would help younger students to explicitly teach these tasks. I imagine that it would help children to be more observant of common elements in their world once they understand why it is important to pay attention.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        alrichardson
        Tamara, This citizen science project would go along well with our Plant Parts and Survival science unit.  We have a flower/butterfly garden at our school along with a trail behind our school that would give us an opportunity to observe many different types of flowers at their different stages of growth.  I agree with you that it would be hard for young kids to match the common plant name with the scientific name.  In all honesty I don't even know the common name for some of the flowers that I see in the garden at school.  This would be a learning experience for me as well.  Identifying the latitude and longitude  would also be challenging for young ones.  This would be a great opportunity to invite volunteers, parents, or big buddies (who may be studying latitude and longitude in class) to participate alongside the students.  Thank you for bringing this citizen science project to my attention.
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Pam Hosimer
        Tamara, I also tried Budburst for this assignment and thought calculating the latitude and longitude of my location was rather difficult for a citizen science project. Then I discovered the screen where you put in your address and it calculates the latitude and longitude for you! Game changer! I even could zero right in on the plant in my yard, and put the map marker on it, with the Google map site that was provided. But I have to say the site is not intuitive or user friendly! It took me about 90 minutes of pressing every link and button to finally get my observation uploaded!!! I’m not sure this is a good option for my younger students.
    • Taylor
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      TSimon95
      I participated in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird Citizen Science Project (using Merlin Bird ID). I really liked using this app because you don't have to go far to spot different birds (since I am unable to go far due to covid-19 lockdowns this was a positive) and can just record sightings from your backyard. I didn't have a particular challenge, but it would be nice to do this project in a more natural setting without the hustle of the city cars. Students will learn a lot about different bird species, and will also learn more specifically about the birds that live near the school and in their neighbourhood. I think that students will also learn about their ability to contribute to science and will help them position themselves as scientists.
      • Elisabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        evhartman
        Merlin bird ID is very helpful, and with location built in, it's great that you mentioned using it to learn about neighborhood birds local to them. So important. I also like that Merlin utilizes size aspect, easy for kids to remember, and adults alike- "it was Robin sized" .
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      NRGregory
      I participated in Nature's Notebook Citizen Science Project. I have to admit that there were no challenges to my participation!  The data sheets have embedded ? icon to help with definitions such as "Breaking leaf buds" or "increasing leaf size", etc.  It was easy to use from my iPad and data is a simple checklist that is uploaded quickly.  Students will learn about phenology and how to observe and connect more closely with the natural world. It will help them to see themselves as scientists contributing to meaningful research on climate change and the effects of natural disaster around the country. I think students will easily be able to form their own questions related to their observations and continue learning.
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lsiepker
      1. I did the Project FeederWatch. 2. Bird ID...wow, I thought I need my birds fairly well but I had to look a couple of them. I think it was because they were females and did have very obvious markings. I saw doves, robins, house wrens (I think), red-winged blackbirds, and cardinals. 3. I think this would be an easy project to participate in. I didn't formally login and record my data, but I could have my students easily sign up and do this while school is closed. I like the annual sign up too so it gives students a reason to keep doing it and possibly encourage them to keep doing it.
    • Holly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      hrdevault
      I participated in BudBurst. This would be a great citizen-science project for kids to participate if they have a school garden. It requires multiple trips to the garden and careful observation. I would expect them to increase their observation skills and learn more about plant anatomy.
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