How citizen science changes the world


In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday as a national day of service. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

The National Science Foundation encourages people to help build a better, more informed society by participating in Citizen Science, or Public Participation in Scientific Research. This program is designed to engage the public in addressing societal needs and accelerating science, technology, and innovation.

Here are a few ways that citizens scientists are doing their part to serve their communities.
Conducting scientific experiments

Students in Manhattan participate in scientific research by taking part in The River Project oyster restoration program. The project’s objective is to restore native oyster habitats in the Hudson River. To do this, volunteers help pull oyster traps from New York Harbor and conduct field research. This research allows participants opportunities to actively investigate natural settings and engage in problem-based learning.

Citizen scientists also serve their communities through The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, which provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection, analysis, and the scientific process while contributing meaningfully to an understanding of the Earth’s systems and environments.
Collecting and analyzing data

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