​Christine Hintz
Aquatic Resources Education
Chesapeake and Coastal Service
MD Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401

Community Science

What is it?

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

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

Community 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: Monarch Migration Tracking Project


​Monarch Butterfly, photo courtesy of Ralph Kimes, Jr.

Journey North:

This simple, online reporting project engages thousands of children and adults.

  • Volunteers report sightings during the spring and fall migrations through the project’s website. Spring reports include first monarch, first milkweed, first monarch egg, and first monarch larva. Fall reports include adult sightings, peak migration events, roosting monarchs, and breeding monarchs.
  • Data are aggregated and used to develop real-time maps of spring and fall migration fronts.

For more information, visit http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarchs​​

 ​Typically focused on the natural world, community 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 community 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! ​