Citizen Science

A group of people of all ages examine exposed rocks during low tide.
Citizen scientists search for life in the intertidal zone during a biodiversity study.

NPS Photo

National parks are ideal for citizen science. Imagine being in a beautiful place, collecting data, learning science, having fun, socializing, and helping managers protect a place that you love. What could be better?

In national parks, everyone can help create new knowledge–school kids and adults, families and singles, local residents and well-traveled visitors. With a wide range of citizen science projects, volunteers can participate in different ways. You might take photos of wildlife and upload them through an app for a study on biodiversity. You could visit a forest or meadow and record when flowers bloom to help understand how climate change affects ecosystems. You could participate in an archeological excavation to understand the past. Or help archivists and museum experts by digitizing collection records so they’re available to scholars worldwide.

For information about citizen science in national parks generally, see the NPS Citizen Science page.

Citizen Science Projects at RLCs

Sudents in safety vests examine the needles of a conifer tree.
Continental Divide RLC: Study plant phenology, mercury accumulation in dragonfly larvae, and changing forests
A mountain goat stares questionably at the camera.
Crown of the Continent RLC: Track loon populations and nesting success, monitor mountain goats and bighorn sheep, and count raptors during the fall migration.
Orange and black butterfly hangs off of a branch.
Great Lakes REC: Monitor monarch butterflies and their milkweed host plants.
Small hawk with brownish-orange, vertical streaks against a white breast sits on a tree branch.
Schoodic ERC: Study many aspects of Acadia, including intertidal seaweeds, landscape and climate change, biodiversity, migrating birds, plant phenology, and more.

Last updated: April 19, 2022