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Six Citizen Science Projects that Help Keep Tabs on Climate Impacts

Count some birds, shoot a wave, set out a rain gauge — the sky’s the limit

Molly Samuel

An iPhone can be a field guide, a tool for recording observations and a way to share data.

Today is the first day of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, when people all over North America tally the birds they see and record their results on the GBBC website. It’s a simple citizen science project to try. Even if you don’t know your birds, you can print out a list of what you’re likely to see in your area to help figure out which bird you’re looking at. And as the four-day project progresses, you can watch results come in from all over the continent.

The Bird Count is important to scientists, too. The information you collect helps answer questions about how bird populations are doing and how migrating birds are responding to the weather or climate change

But the Great Backyard Bird Count is far from the only citizen science project worth trying. While some science is done by people in crisp white lab coats, with specialized tools, a lot of it isn’t. Scientists don’t just work in labs, they don’t just use beakers and Bunsen burners, and most of the time they’re not wearing lab coats.

Also: you don’t have to be a scientist to do science.

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