Citizen science offers perfect way for kids to collaborate, contribute

Discovery Place Kids Huntersville

Pollen Bearing Honeybee Mb

Ever wonder how to cultivate your child’s love of science in a way that you both can enjoy? Citizen scientist programs provide the perfect opportunity for your little ones -- and you – to advance those science skills while making a difference in the community.

Citizen scientists are everyday members of the public who collect and sometimes even analyze data from the world around them, most commonly as part of collaborative projects guided by legit scientists. This month, Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville is celebrating citizen science and giving visitors an opportunity to dip their toes in the world of data collection and analysis.

Counting Pollinators

For the first half of June, join the fun as we become citizen scientists participating in The Great Sunflower Project. Since 2008, The Great Sunflower Project has been collecting data on pollinators to learn more about their numbers and where they need help.

The project includes more than 100,000 members across the country who collect data on pollinators in their yards, gardens schools and parks. We’ll join them in taking counts of the number and types of pollinators visiting plants at the Museum. Our observations will help determine where pollinator service is strong or weak compared to national averages.

Read more about The Great Sunflower Project here.

Celebrating Birds

During the second half of the month, have an impact on the world of birds as we join the Celebrate Urban Birds project. Founded in 2007, Celebrate Urban Birds is a year-round project developed by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Its goals are to reach diverse urban audiences who do not already participate in scientific investigation and to collect high-quality data that helps us understand how different environments influence the location of birds in urban areas.

You can join the movement as we explore our great outdoors to identify various birds and learn more about their adaptations. Then, we will send our data in to the citizen science effort to help our feathered friends on a much broader scale.

Read more about Celebrate Urban Birds here.

Say Cheese!

On June 4, we will host a special celebration of National Cheese Day as we help our friends at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences with their Cheese Alive! project. That’s right, there’s even a citizen science opportunity around one of our favorite snacks! Who said science wasn’t delicious?

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is studying the varying bacteria that exist in different cheeses. In addition to identifying the microbes in various types of cheese that are beneficial to our health, the researchers are also studying whether our own genetics and cultural backgrounds play a role in what types of cheese we enjoy the most.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to get a taste, literally, of food science.

Read more about the Cheese Alive! project here.

Citizen Science is for Everyone

Citizen science activities help children learn about community, collaboration and contributing to a greater good. And whether it is animals, plants or food that they love, there’s guaranteed to be a citizen science project out there for your kids to enjoy. Now that’s fun you can feel good about!

Rockingham Facade At Dusk
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