In a world that seems increasingly hostile toward evidence-based science, community involvement is the tonic. Citizen science delivers the general public simple, accessible ways to become involved in the collection of scientific data in their own community—connecting people to their place and providing valuable contributions to scientists and researchers.
OSU and the greater Corvallis scientific community have a number of opportunities for the layperson to get involved in exciting science being done locally. Find one that suits your fancy!
Bird nerds, unite! Oregon 2020 is a collaboration of professionals and citizens dedicated to high-quality, statewide measurement of the abundance and distribution of Oregon birds by the year 2020. Because birds are sensitive to environmental change and play important ecological roles, understanding their responses can inform us about how ecosystems can withstand a changing environment. There are several ways to get involved with Oregon 2020, including simply counting how many birds you see or hear in your backyard within five minutes and submitting the results to eBird. If you’re looking for an excuse to travel, sign on to travel to the Hotspot Squares located all across the state to count birds there. Not a bird expert? Attend one of the Oregon 2020 events to improve your birding skills and connect with other citizen scientists!
For more information, visit www.oregon2020.com.
Oregon Season Tracker
The snowstorms in the Willamette Valley this winter may have reminded you that climate is something we all interact with, whether we like it or not. The Oregon Season Tracker (OST) aims to connect the Corvallis community to climate researchers studying the interaction of weather, climate, and local ecosystems. OST hopes to equip citizen scientists to help improve the understanding of weather patterns and ecosystem responses to environmental change. Volunteers gather scientific data on precipitation and seasonal plant changes at a specified location, such as their home or school. The data will be used for scientific discovery and decision-making by researchers, resource managers, and educators across the state.
Interested in becoming a trained observer? For more information or to become an OST observer, visit www.oregonseasontracker.
Environmental Preparedness & Resilience Empowering People (EPREP) Citizen Science Project
Environmental contaminants have been a hot topic in the news lately, and the EPREP is a great way to help monitor local air quality. The EPREP is a program designed to better understand air quality and chemical exposure with the help of a simple, lightweight wristband. The wristband functions as a passive sampling device and can detect pesticides, flame retardants, nicotine, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. You can simply wear the wristband in your day-to-day life, send it to the lab, and scientists can determine what environmental contaminants you were exposed to.
The EPREP will start recruitments again in the summer of 2017. Stay tuned to www.eprep.oregonstate.edu for more information about upcoming opportunities!
By Keely Corder