Stacy Epperson
Education Specialist
Aquatic Resources Education
Chesapeake and Coastal Service
MD Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-260-8775

Citizen Science

What is it?

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, host of one of the largest citizen science projects in the world, eBird, defines it as:

"... projects in which volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions."

Citizen Science is a rapidly growing movement in which the general public collaborates with professional scientists to tackle current issues by gathering real-world data.

Featured Project

Map of the world.

Globe at Night

The Globe at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations from a computer or smart phone. Light pollution threatens not only our “right to starlight”, but can affect energy consumption, wildlife and health. More than 100,000 measurements have been contributed from people in 115 countries during the campaigns each winter/spring over the last 9 years, making Globe at Night the most successful light pollution awareness campaign to date!

Explore the last 9 years of data in our interactive data map, or see how your city did with our regional map generator. The Globe at Night website is easy to use, comprehensive and holds an abundance of background information. The database is usable for comparisons with a variety of other databases, like how light pollution affects the foraging habits of bats. For 2018, data is collected over a specified 10 day period each month. Teachers will be pleased to know that this project has been matched with New Generation Science Standards. Visit the link below for more information about the project and other supportive resources.


Typically focused on the natural world, citizen science efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • observing wildlife
  • recording behaviors, and
  • biological sample collection

Why is it important?

The benefits of engaging in citizen science can be seen on every level, from the local to the global. When individuals get involved scientists can literally have hands and eyes all over the planet. At the same time, making observations or collecting samples from one’s local environment connects that person with their own community, allowing them to be an active participant in monitoring and protecting the world around them.

How can I help?

Getting involved is easy! Click here to view the resources listed to find a project that is compatible with your interests and availability and then make contact!