Citizen Science

Citizen science has been described by Wikipedia as “scientific research conducted in whole or in part by amateur (or nonprofessional) scientists.” Citizen science can be as simple as a small group of volunteers helping a scientist collect field data or as large and complex as hundreds of volunteers around the world gathering data in their backyards.

Although citizen science activities vary, the generally accepted principles include:

  • there is a genuine scientific outcome
  • both professional scientists and citizen volunteers benefit
  • citizens receive feedback on their work
At Saguaro National Park, we have hundreds of citizens scientists helping us with a number of projects, such as measuring and mapping saguaros, monitoring stream levels, and studying Gila monsters. Because of their contribution, the park is able to accomplish important work that has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is essential for the park’s effort to conserve Sonoran Desert plants and animals.

Saguaro is always looking for more people to help out with these important studies in the park. Check out some of the projects that you can get involved with below!
citizen scientists measure arms on a saguaro
Saguaro Arms Project

Citizen scientists are helping Saguaro National Park study the growth and symmetry of saguaro arms.

Saguaro Flower Power Project
Saguaro Flower Power Project

The study examines saguaro phenology in the Park.

Bedrock pool
Studying Desert Water

Park staff, volunteers, and other researchers study many aspects of the park's rare waters and how they change with climate.

Gila monster with tag
Gila Monster Project

The park encourages visitors to take pictures of Gila monsters they see while hiking. Park staff uses this data to monitor them over time.

a young saguaro being measured for the saguaro census
Saguaro Census 2020

Every ten years, citizen scientists help Saguaro conduct a census to monitor the long-term health and vitality of saguaros.

Desert tortoise
Scavenger Hunt

Contribute to important park science while having fun in your national park by looking for plant and animal species on our Scavenger Hunt!

Last updated: April 12, 2024

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3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730


520 733-5153

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