Citizen Science Gives Us Wings!

  • Location
    Siler City, North Carolina
  • Status

The Problem

My wish is threefold: 1) introduce my students to the concept of Citizen Science, engaging them in the outdoors in new ways that motivate them when they understand that their data will be used to address real-world issues of local and global concern; 2) build awareness of life around us, starting with birds, and to understand basic impacts of human life on animals, and vice versa; and 3) connect with students in a Siberian Yupik community to understand how they use Citizen Science to track birds in their region, what that tells them, and why that matters. In essence, I hope that students will become more aware of their immediate surroundings, and be inspired to observe more. I also hope they will become more aware of how our actions might impact those who live in very different circumstances and regions, with very different lifestyles. Perhaps with time and guidance, students will feel empowered by their new knowledge and understanding to take some action, even small steps, to help mitigate negative changes and promote positive ones. This project is a stepping stone to conducting more citizen science within our school, as it is something I've wanted to set up for quite some time. Using birds first is accessible to us, and makes sense given our resources, location, and time available.

Our Plan

With the grant we will purchase birdfeeders and a trail cam to monitor feedings while we aren't able to observe. We will use the Cornell Lab Citizen Science Investigation to guide our work this year, but with the addition of the trail cam for nighttime observation. I believe citizen science is needed in our school, and is a powerful opportunity for students to connect nature with scientific research in a "real" way. We will also communicate with a group of students who live in the remote Siberian Yupik village of Savoonga, on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska, to learn how they use citizen science to learn about changes in their region. We plan to start with birds, but I hope students are able to draw connections between a healthy environment and productive habitats that support many types of life.

Themes Addressed

  • term icon
    Indigenous Rights
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The Benefit

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