Activities For The Civic Geek: Citizen Science

Citizen Science is the idea that we, as citizens, can and should be involved in scientific pursuits, research, and promotion.  It’s a profound idea mixing civic involvement, science, and of course pure geekery.

“Citizen Science” is a lovely term for people from all walks of life doing and helping with scientific work as citizens.  You don’t have to be a scientist to help – but you may work with them, collecting data, building tools, crunching numbers, and more.  It’s a mix of citizenship, crowdsourcing, and science.

It’s hard to sum up just what you can do as a citizen scientist, because there’s so many options.  The resources below can guide you, but a few ideas:

  • You may gather information on environmental change in your area – great for your friends, family, club, or convention to help out with.
  • Use your writing skills to transcribe rare documents and scientific information into more enduring formats – or even other languages.
  • Promote science education at your convention.
  • Use your knowledge of your local area to help with civic disaster planning based on your area’s unique challenges.

That’s just a a small idea of what you can do as a citizen scientist.  A little research will almost certainly find a project that’s right for you and your geeky interests -or your club, convention, writer’s group, and more.

If you don’t have time?  Well invite citizen science groups to your school, place of work, club, or convention so they can talk about what they do and recruit people.

As a citizen scientist you’ll help out worthy causes, learn, and make connections.  There’s really no downside to it except you only have so much time in the day.


Citizen Science

  • Computing
    • Code For America – An alliance of coders and citizens that innovate on technology, draft policies, and create apps to help citizenship.
  • Environment
  • Space
  • STEM
    • Citizen Science Alliance – A collaborative effort of scientists, software developers, and educators to promote and organize citizen science and citizen science projects, as well as science awareness. Their projects are tracked in
    • Science Cheerleader – A site focusing on Cheerleaders who chose science careers, promoting science awareness, and where the former can promote the latter, all with good humor and a serious mission.
    • Scientific America’s Citizen Science Page – Scientific American’s resource for citizen scientists, listing projects and updates. A good way to find something to fit your interests.
    • SciStarter – A site to find, join, and contribute to scientific endeavors. Contains a large database of citizen science projects for you to check out.
    • Zooniverse – The Citizen Science Alliance’s website for hosting citizen science projects. A good place to go and find specific projects to get involved in.