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Citizen and Community Science

Provides resources, strategies and information on conducting research, participating in, and creating citizen and community science projects.

Michigan Citizen Science Projects

This section links to individual citizen science projects in the state of Michigan, as well as various organizations that manage multiple projects.

Michigan ZoomIn is a citizen science project hosted by the University of Michigan on Zooniverse with the help the Shapiro Design Lab. The project relies on pictures captured by motion triggered cameras throughout the state of Michigan, which participants then analyze to identify different species for conservation and protection work. The focus of the project is to identify and assess populations of carnivores to ensure environmental stability in Michigan. 

"Founded in 1965, the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) is southeast Michigan’s oldest environmental organization dedicated to river protection. The Huron River Watershed Council protects and restores the river for healthy and vibrant communities." - Huron River Watershed Council About Page

The Huron River Watershed Council has 12 different active projects, all of which have notations describing how they help the community. 

Michigan State University faculty and students contribute to a number of citizen science projects by providing software and expertise. Additionally, they provide training and educational resources for students interested in science education. One of their projects includes providing a software called Mental Map to help a Virginian community with water quality, while another focuses on monitoring tree health in Michigan forests. 

"Citizen science is integral to Michigan Audubon’s efforts to provide data that help identify threats to bird populations and habitat. This research data, collected by volunteers, leads to programs and policies designed to protect species and the habitats in which they live." - Michigan Audubon Society.

There are a number of different ongoing projects associated with the Michigan Audubon Society, many of which are long standing. In addition to Michigan specific projects, the Michigan Audubon society contributes to the national Audubon Christmas Count, which is a country wide, annual biodiversity blitz. 

"The Alliance for the Great Lakes works to protect the Great Lakes for today and tomorrow. We involve tens of thousands of people each year in advocacy, volunteering, education, and research to ensure the lakes are healthy and safe for all." - The Alliance for the Great Lakes About Page. 

The Alliance for the Great Lakes has compiled considerable data about liter in the Great Lakes, which has been used to make policy changes. In addition, the Alliance regularly coordinated liter pick up days and other forms of data collection.  

"The Kalamazoo Nature Center [KNC] is a not-for-profit organization located in Kalamazoo, Michigan whose mission is to inspire people to care for the environment by providing experiences that lead them to understand their connection to the natural world." -KNC 

The KNC provides a number of classes, summer camps, and educational programs focused on nature and conservation. Their citizen science projects include avian surveys, invasive species monitoring, monarch butterfly monitoring, and river monitoring. 

Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, but conceptualized and run in Michigan, the project asked citizen scientists to evaluate 1000 underwater videos of the Great Lakes. The citizen scientists answers were compared to previously-collected expert analysis to decide on a new work protocol to provide needed information for water resource managers.

Image of participants in the Audubon Christmas Count

Photo Credit: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Related Resources

Although not specifically about citizen and community science, these resources from the University of Michigan Library catalog will help you ground yourself in the ecology and environment of Michigan. You can search for books about the natural history of Michigan as well as field guides specific to Michigan. Understanding the science in your backyard will help you generate ideas for useful, relevant citizen or community science projects, and allow you to compare your findings with the data of other researchers.