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Be a Citizen Scientist! Opportunities to Help Researchers

Wondering what a citizen scientist is? A citizen scientist is someone who, on a volunteer basis, contributes information and resources to the scientific community.   Such people come from all walks of life and do not necessarily have science backgrounds. They include online gamers who lend their skills to programs that analyze folding protein structures, families snapping and sending pictures of local wildlife to wildlife movement research organizations, and beachgoers collecting and submitting water samples to track microplastics.


The Future of Scientific Research

Citizen scientists can help fill a gap in capacity in the scientific community by harnessing the power of people. The challenge of collecting large samples of data is greatly diminished when thousands of people around the world can remotely contribute and provide data to studies. Public participation enables investigations that would not otherwise be possible, ones that widen the horizon in our understanding of our world. Additionally, with increased public participation in scientific research, we may be able to foster a more knowledgeable society that can participate meaningfully in decisions about scientific policy.


How Can I Get Involved?

Opportunities to get involved with citizen science are plentiful. There is probably a project somewhere in the world that lends itself to any of your hobbies or interests. One of the simplest and commonest ways to participate is to use your cellphone to collect and submit observations. There are many emerging and accessible platforms to capture and measure different projects.  You can assist the USGS with measuring and recording earthquake tremors, lend a hand to NASA’s count of passing meteors, and even help a local organization, Pathways for Wildlife, track the movements of bobcats in Coyote Valley. The idea is that anyone, anywhere can contribute to meaningful scientific research. Try some of the apps below in Coyote Valley to get started!

1.  iNaturalist

iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 400,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.

2. eBird

eBird transforms your bird sightings into science and conservation. Plan trips, find birds, track your lists, explore range maps and bird migration—all free.

3. Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool that nature lovers can use to explore and document local wildlife and a common technology platform that research groups can use to further their research.


Get Involved — and Get Out — in Coyote Valley

Coyote Valley has so much to offer for people of all ages and activity levels. Make sure to take advantage and get outdoors!


About Protect Coyote Valley

The Protect Coyote Valley campaign is led by the Committee for Green Foothills and supported by Greenbelt Alliance, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, and SAGE — Sustainable Agriculture Education. It aims to preserve Coyote Valley, San Jose as open space that offers flood-buffering wetlands, an essential wildlife habitat and migratory area, and active farmlands.