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Celebrate Earth Day With a Citizen Science Project

This Earth Day, volunteer to help study and explore our home planet.

Citizen Science Salon iconCitizen Science Salon
By Nathaniel Scharping
Apr 22, 2021 3:00 PMMar 21, 2023 8:17 PM
debris tracker
Volunteers can help researchers study and save the planet by getting involved in citizen science projects. (Credit: Debris Tracker)


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Citizen Science Salon is a partnership between Discover and SciStarter.Org.

For more than 50 years, Earth Day has been a chance to step back and look at the world around us — and then give back to our home planet. Volunteers around the world unite to take care of the Earth.

You can join them by participating in citizen science projects that study, explore and seek to understand our often fragile environment. We’ve gathered five of our favorite Earth-tastic projects for you below.

Debris Tracker

Bits of plastic debris found on an Oregon beach. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Ocean Blue Project, Inc.)

We all see debris everywhere around us every time we go outside. Now, you can turn those sightings into real data with Debris Tracker. Add to the millions of pieces of debris already tracked around the world.

Start Tracking!

Land Loss Lookout is a citizen science tool that trains people to identify and label wetland loss in images of the Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: Healthy Gulf)

Louisiana’s wetlands are being lost at an alarming rate: more than 400 square miles have already vanished. Help scientists monitor this fragile habitat from anywhere by scanning aerial photos and calling out blighted areas.

Join Now!

CanAirIO's team has worked with citizen scientists and students throughout their community, training them to build and use air pollution monitors. (Credit: CanAirIO)


What’s in the air we breathe? Build your own simple sensor to find out, and share your air quality data with a growing worldwide network of like-minded citizen scientists. CanAirIO provides training and assistance, as well as a place to upload your data to contribute to monitoring efforts.

Start Gathering Data!

The New York Botanical Garden needs volunteers' help studying and categorizing their extensive collection. (Credit: NYBG)

NYBG Virtual Herbarium Expeditions

What’s a herbarium, you say? Glad you asked! Come explore a collection of unique plants, collected by thousands of botanists over hundreds of years. This online project asks volunteers to study and categorize plant (and fungi and algae) life from all over the world from the comfort of their own home.

Explore Today!

Stay Home: Household Waste Audit

(Credit: Jasmin Sessler/Unsplash)

We can’t talk about Earth Day without talking about trash. And, speaking of garbage, do you know how much you’re actually throwing away each week? Find out with this kid-friendly citizen science project that tallies up household trash.

Join Now!

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