Ways to help:
Plant fall nectar plants (New England Aster, Goldenrod, Blue Mist flower)
Participate in observation projects to help with data collection, such as those pictured to the left.
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHs)
One example of citizen scientists filling in the gaps is with recording rainfall. Many cities and towns have weather stations, but there is a great deal of territory between rain gauges. When Master Naturalists join Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, they receive a heavy-duty rain gauge and log their daily rainfall at www.cocorahs.org. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Website, our aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. We are now in all fifty states. To join and for more information, Join CoCoRaHS
Another example is at Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. Master Naturalists with an interest in birds log birds they see in their yard with the app eBird. They can find and monitor bird nests to document the bird's family life. They can participate in February's Great Backyard Birdcount. Joined with observations from across the country, this expands science's knowledge of the range and abundance of various bird species.
eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by eBirders around the world. A collaborative enterprise with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts, and hundreds of thousands of users, eBird is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For more information or to join, Join eBird
October Big Day—19 Oct 2019
On 19 October, October Big Day is back! Can we beat last year's total of 6,331 species on a single October day?
Global Big Day 2019: the biggest day in birding
On 4 May, 32,500 people ventured outside in 171 countries, finding 6,816 species: 2/3rds of the world's bird species in a single day. This is a new world record for the number of people birding on a single day.
Master Naturalists also track changes in a small area with time. In a designated area like a back yard or along a daily walk, they note when particular species of trees start to leaf out and when the leaves start falling. They note when particular annual native species first appear, when they flower, and when they seed. They can note when the first butterfly appears and when migratory birds pass through. Information about the abundance and timing of these events are entered in the phenology database at www.usanpn.org/home to track the movement of the seasons across the continent.
The USA-National Phrenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. USD-NPN uses Nature's Notebook to provide a platform for volunteers to record observations.
Then there's the granddaddy of citizen scientist observations - www.iNaturalist.org. A sighting of almost any species is welcome in the general database. Established projects are looking for more specific observations, such as reptiles and amphibians in Arkansas, Monarch butterflies in Arkansas, or any species in the NWA Land Trust Preserves. Master Naturalists interested in bear, quail, arthropods, or mushrooms all have projects looking for their data. Arkansas state parks and Arkansas Natural Heritage Areas in particular are working to document their biodiversity. Master Naturalists log the distribution of common plants while keeping an eye out for species not yet on the list.
One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. Ongoing Arkansas iNaturalist Projects you can join include Arkansas Biodiversity, and the Arkansas Monarch Mapping Project.For more info and to join, Join iNaturalists