Citizen science occurs when members of the public voluntarily participate in the scientific process in their communities, helping scientists to address real-world, current problems and overcome them with rigorous and robust datasets.

The efforts of citizen scientists have helped scientists better understand distributional ranges of migratory organisms like the monarch or dolphins, mapping water infrastructure to look for lead pipes, and looking through real images to advance scientific discovery. Many citizen science projects can be done from your own home and require very little effort, but it can go a long way to help scientists overcome the problems we are experiencing in the world today!

There are several citizen science projects which you can participate in that benefit Pennsylvania pollinators. They include:

  • Track the phenology, or timing, or flowering plants in your area for the Chicago Botanic Garden's Budburst project.
  • Monitor the health of managed honey bees through Beescape.
  • Monitor pollinator populations through the Great Sunflower Project.
  • Identify the visitors to cucurbit crops through the Great Pumpkin Project.
  • Access the Pennsylvania Citizen Scientist Monitoring Guide to document changes in native bee communities over time. This includes an overview of native bee biology and how to identify them.
  • Learn how to set up a trap nest for native solitary wood-nesting bees and about the biology of the bees that use them with Wild Bees and Building Wild Bee Houses from the Bee Lab at UMN.
  • Start recording your observation of flora and fauna in your area with iNaturalist! Also available on Android and iOS devices, this app helps you to identify plants and animals in your area, and the data can be used in current studies on the distributions of these organisms.