Research: Citizen Science

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Nature Center Hours

VINS Nature Center
10am to 5pm Daily

Accepting Injured Birds
8am to 5pm Daily
802.359.5000 x212

Become a Citizen Scientist

If you love the outdoors or are curious about wildlife, you could be a citizen scientist today! Most citizen science projects are completely free, and involve observing the natural world, then entering your observations online. For as little as 15 minutes once a year, or a little time every day, you can help conduct real, urgently needed scientific research. It doesn’t matter if you live in the middle of the city, or in the middle of a forest! Get involved with these projects below, and help make new discoveries now.

Project:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society

Project Duration:
Year-round

eBird allows you to submit checklists anytime, anywhere, all year long. A real-time, online checklist program, eBird is amassing one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence. A birder simply enters when, where, and how they went birding, then fills out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing.

Check out VINS’ eBird profile to see what’s been visiting us.

Learn more:
ebird.org

Project:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society

Project Duration:
Annually for four days in February

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a big weekend of birding for nature lovers across the globe! Over 160,000 people in 130 countries participate each February to collect real-time data about winter bird distributions and abundance. Join VINS every February and help us tally the birds on our property while contributing to real scientific research.

Learn more:
gbbc.birdcount.org

Project:
iNaturalist an initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and a joint initiative with National Geographic Society

Project Duration:
Year round

Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.

Learn more:
inaturalist.org

Project:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Project Duration:
Breeding Season

Learn to be an official NestWatcher with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To participate, you will peek in on the baby birds growing in your yard to gather data for scientists curious about nesting biology. VINS is an official NestWatch chapter, and hosts periodic training days throughout the year, including nestbox building workshops, and nest-checking walks.

Learn more:
nestwatch.org

Project:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada

Project Duration:
Weekends at the VINS Nature Center November through March

Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders in North America. Just count the birds you see at your feeders periodically from November to early April, and send your counts online to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Anyone interested in birds can participate, and the data help scientists track movements of winter bird populations. All you need is a bird feeder!

Learn more about Project FeederWatch:
feederwatch.org

Project:
Vermont Center for Ecostudies

Project Details:
VINS is collaborating with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies on their study of Lady Beetles in Vermont.

Lady Beetles are adored by many and who can blame them – their bright patterns captivate the eyes and their reputation as pest predators make them a friend to farmers and gardeners. Many of us are familiar with the nonnative Asian Lady Beetle, but did you know that 35 native lady beetle species have been historically documented in Vermont? Unfortunately, 12 of these species have not been seen since the 1970's.

If you would like to help in the lady beetle quest, simply install the free  iNaturalist app to your phone (or camera and internet-connected device of choice) and upload pictures of any lady beetle you encounter to the site! Visit the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas website to find out more ways to get involved and learn more about these fascinating beetles.

Stay tuned if you are interested in participating in Lady Beetle monitoring. VINS will be hosting a training in the future.

Learn more:
val.vtecostudies.org/projects/lady-beetle-atlas