In this increasingly technological world, science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) skills are key to a child’s success. Harford County Public Library recognizes the importance of fostering STEM talent and has developed the Learn, Explore, and Play or LEAP Program, a series of fun, free, educational programming and equipment kits to enhance interest and competence in these fields.
What is Citizen Science? It's the idea that ordinary people (citizens) can conduct scientific research in a real and meaningful way. You don't have to have a college degree-or even a high school diploma! Here are some organizations that will link you into their Citizen Science networks.
Did you know that many comets are discovered by amateurs? The Harford Astronomical Society has monthly open house events for people interested in looking at the sky through a telescope. They will also help you figure out how to use the old telescope that has been hanging around in your attic for the past few years. http://www.harfordastro.org.
Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, www.otterpointcreek.org
This estuary center, located just off Route 40, is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland. It uses volunteers to conduct a variety of scientific research activities. Citizen scientists (volunteers) monitor populations of deer, box turtles, fish, and reptiles. Once a year they conduct a BioBlitz where they count as many of the different animals in the park as possible.
Project Feeder Watch from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, https://feederwatch.org/
Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. All you need is a bird feeder, bird bath, or plantings that attract birds.
Want more Citizen Science? Try these websites for more ideas: