What is Citizen Science?
Citizen science is the public involvement in scientific inquiry and the discovery of new knowledge. Think of it as crowdsourcing data collection for research and management projects- when agencies and research groups don’t have enough manpower or funding to collect valuable information for a project, large and diverse teams of citizen scientists step in and save the day. In addition to data collection, community-based groups may engage with scientists to generate novel and exciting ideas that advance our understanding of the world. When citizens and scientists work together, scientists are able to share the importance of their work, while citizens have the opportunity to make an impact and contribute to projects they feel passionate about.
Citizen science is an accessible and fun way for anyone to participate in the scientific process, and all participants in a project use the same protocol to ensure the collection of a large sample of high quality, open access data that can help scientists reach meaningful conclusions. In the past, collecting large samples of data for research was the most challenging task of any research initiative. Now, with public involvement and new technologies like mobile computing devices that allow participants to log data from anywhere, the sky’s the limit!
Who is a Citizen Scientist?
You may already be a citizen scientist! A citizen scientist is an individual who voluntarily contributes his or her time, effort, and resources toward scientific research. All you need to be a citizen scientist is an eagerness to learn and contribute to new scientific information, no formal science background is necessary!
Today, citizen scientists have many advocates in the scientific community and come from all walks of life, including thousands of non-traditional participants, kids, outdoor enthusiasts, educators, birders, and students who want a more hands-on experience outside the classroom. If you’re not yet a citizen scientist, check out our programs.
How can I get Involved?
The University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute and its partners run a selection of citizen science projects. Each year the Institute adds new projects to its repertoire; some are short single or multiple day events, like the Annual Wyoming Bioblitz, while others are ongoing projects like the Rocky Mountain Amphibian Project, Monarchs and Milkweeds, or our ever popular Bi-Annual Moose Day. You can contribute species observations, and look at citizen and professional data any time on our biodiversity data portal- WyoBio.
The Institute organizes citizen science programs with a wide range of levels of engagement and training, so we encourage you to check out our offerings and browse through other programs around the region on our Rocky Mountain Citizen Science website to see if there are projects that are right for you!
Rocky Mountain Citizen Science was conceived by participants at the Wyoming Citizen Science Conference as a place where citizen science practitioners and participants could share their projects, experiences, ideas and passion for science.
The mission of Rocky Mountain Citizen Science is to bring together the practitioners of citizen science — scientists, program directors, funders, educators and volunteers — in the Rocky Mountain region, to promote public participation in scientific research through shared best practices, creative dialogue, and the promotion of good citizen science projects.
Our vision is to create a community, and a society, where all citizens are empowered to use the tools of science to become advocates for themselves and the environment.
Help us in our mission to explore, explain, and sustain biodiversity in Wyoming and the world.
Help us create and manage new and exciting citizen science programs and mobilize an army of citizen scientists, and you'll play a critical role in addressing some of today’s most pressing conservation challenges.