What's citizen science? It's ordinary people making observations, collecting data, and helping researchers answer questions about Louisiana's ecosystem. It's protecting and preserving America's treasures. It's fun, it's fascinating, and it's surprisingly easy to do.
Citizen Science at the Barataria Preserve in Marrero
For students: Field trips featuring citizen science projects are available at the Barataria Preserve. Programs are designed for grades 4-12 with Next Generation Science Standards and Louisiana Student Standards in mind. Students learn about preserve history and the importance of Louisiana's wetlands; groups also participate in real-life conservation and environmental issues through hands-on research projects. Field trips are free; subject choices are water quality testing and seasonal life cycle monitoring. To schedule a field trip, call 504-689-7611 ext. 14 or email the park
For adults (ages 16 and up):
- Nature's Notebook is powered by people who make note of when flowers are blooming, when trees get their leaves, or when birds migrate and then enter their observations online. The timing of these events is crucial to any ecosystem, and both scientists and casual observers have noticed that spring is arriving earlier and fall is arriving later each year. Phenology---the study of plant and animal life cycle events---is crucial to discovering how ecosystems change over time and how climate change is affecting natural systems. At the Barataria Preserve, Nature's Notebook observers contribute to "The Green Wave" is a nationwide research campaign that studies deciduous trees. Deciduous trees lose their leaves each fall, and the Green Wave makes note of when leaves start to re-appear each spring. Nature's Notebook observers also contribute to the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail, a network of data sites that stretches from the Barataria Preserve to Grand Bay, Mississippi. The preserve staff offer a two-hour training for Nature's Notebook volunteers. To find out more, call 504-689-7611 ext. 14 or email the park.
- FrogWatch USA, a program created by the Assocation of Zoos and Aquariums, trains volunteers listen for frogs and toads and enter their observations into a national online database. Frogs and toads are indicator species for environmental change---amphibian versions of the "canary in the coal mine" that let miners know when dangerous gases were present. Join a FrogWatch USA training at the Barataria Preserve 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 27. Ages 16 and up. Free but reservations required; email the park or call 504-689-7611 ext. 14.
Citizen Science at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux
Understanding Bayou Lafourche Canoe Trek 3:00-6:00 p.m., Saturday, October 27. Discover the changes fall brings to plants, animals, and water in and along Bayou Lafourche. Watch for birds and alligators, identify plants, test the water, and learn how the bayou ecosystem works. canoes and life jackets provided. Ages 18 and up. Free but space limited so registration required; email the park for reservations. Follow the link for a pdf Bayou Lafourche canoe trek flier to download, print, and share.
Phenology Training at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. What's phenology? The study of seasonal changes in the environment. Learn how to identify seasonal changes of plant species on the Bayou Lafourche portion of the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail, enter data on a website or app, and contribute to current scientific research. Free trainings are scheduled throughout the year; email the park or call 985-448-1375.