April is Citizen Science Month! Citizen science, or community science, gives everyone the opportunity to collaborate and contribute to scientific research! There are a variety of projects out there with different commitment levels. We’re going to highlight a few that you can get involved in this month!
Looking for more ways to engage with nature? Check out our educators’ top five tips!
Explore the world around you with a micro hike!
You might not be able to go on a long nature hike right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing insects and other things to discover in your own backyard! Click here to learn how to take your own micro hike. Becca, our camp director, takes campers on micro hikes and more as a part of Summer Camp!
Teaching Tip: Don’t know the names of the plants in your yard? The Seek app can help you identify them. Plus, you can earn cool badges for making observations. It’s perfect for young scientists!
Lend a hand with Budburst
Older children and adults can contribute to Budburst. By tracking the life cycle of plants, you can help scientists save them. All you have to do to contribute is make an observation, record it, and share it. Click here to learn more. Or click here to explore their families section.
Guiding Question: What do you notice about the plant? What is it’s name? What information should we write down?
Community science at the Nature Museum
For 30 years, our scientists have been involved in community science. Our entomologists (bug experts), Doug and Allen, oversee the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network monitoring butterfly populations. Allison, our frog and snake expert, oversees the Calling Frog Survey monitoring frog and toad populations. Our manager of living collections, Lalainya, oversees the Illinois Odonate Survey monitoring dragonfly populations. Check out our website to learn more about these cool projects!
City Nature Challenge
Help Chicago document its wide variety of plants and animals! Every year, cities around the world compete in the City Nature Challenge to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people. It runs April 24-27 and It’s as easy as taking a photo and uploading it! Click here to learn more!
Guiding Question: What are some differences between the plants and animals we see in our backyard and the plants and animals we see in the park? Where could we go to make observations?
Make a nature notebook!
Record everything you spot during your outings in your very own “nature notebook.” You and your little scientist can use pictures and words to record all the cool things you’re observing. Click here to learn how to make your own nature notebook, and click here to learn how to make your own scientific drawings! This is just one of the activities our summer campers get to do on a daily basis.
Teaching Tip: Remind your little one that their drawings don’t have to be perfect. Click here to learn how drawing brings us closer to nature.
Behind the scenes!
Bug experts Doug and Allen are gearing up for a new season of monitoring butterflies as part of the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network. Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of Allen during a butterfly walk last summer.