Be a Citizen Scientist!

The USGS sponsors or has partnerships with many citizen science programs that are appropriate for classroom
projects, for individual students, or for interested citizens.

Boy with GPS


Did You Feel It?
People who experience an earthquake are encouraged to go online and share information about its effects to help create a map of shaking intensities and damage. These “Community Internet Intensity Maps” contribute greatly toward the quick assessment of the scope of an earthquake emergency and provide valuable data for earthquake research.

Did the Coast Change?
Identify changes to the nation'scoasts by using USGS iCoast. Citizen scientists can view before-and-after aerial photos of coastal regions to observe and compare changes from intense storms and hurricanes. By tagging changes in photographs, citizen scientists will learn to recognize coastal erosion while helping USGS scientists identify the most vulnerable areas and improve modeling erosion processes.

Flood Inundation Mapper
Citizen scientists can monitor the status of local rivers, streams, and creeks with the USGS Flood Inundation Mapper. This tool combines resources from USGS stream flow conditions and National Weather Service flood warning forecasts to display the potential of flooding in a region. Citizen scientists can use real-time data to learn about local flood risk and how a hazard is effecting the country.

Contribute to earthquake research and have a seismograph installed in your home or office. By installing these instruments in select urban areas USGS scientists are able to obtain better measurements of ground motion during earthquakes. These measurements improve our ability to make rapid post-earthquake assessments of expected damage and contribute to the continuing development of engineering standards for construction.

Did You See It?
This website, developed by the USGS Landslide Hazards Program, asks anyone who saw a landslide anywhere in the country to report their observations. These observations will
be used to build a more complete landslide database that will help scientists gain a clearer picture of how landslides affect the entire U.S.


USA National Phenology Network
The USA-NPN brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the U.S. Join and share your observations on phenological events like leaf out, flowering, and migration patterns with others across the county.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth
This program trains volunteers to identify important invasive plant species, teaches how to use the on-line database to enter plant locations, and provides information on the management of these species. Data derived from volunteers will be combined with previous research and will aid in the production of distribution maps for species of interest.

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
Assist a network of professionals and trained volunteers on creating a comprehensive database of invasive and potentially invasive plants in New England. The database will facilitate education and research that will lead to a greater understanding of invasive plant ecology and support informed conservation management.

Purple Loosestrife Volunteers
People living at many latitudes in North America, Eurasia, and Australia are volunteering to help assess purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in their regions. Purple loosestrife is native to Eurasia but invaded northern North America after accidental introduction in the 1800s. Study results will help in efforts to control and predict the future spread of thisspecies.

Birds, Amphibians and More!

North American Bird Phenology Program
Be part of a worldwide coordinated effort to scan and transcribe a historic collection of six million bird migration observations collected by Federally-coordinated volunteers between 1880 and 1970. With the help of citizen volunteers, these records are being scanned and made accessible for analysis.

The North American Breeding Bird Survey
Join thousands of volunteers in the collection of data for this long-term, large scale, international avian monitoring program inititaed in 1966 to track the status and trends of North American bird populations. BBS data are collected by volunteers along randomly established roadside routes throughout the continent.

National Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey
Take part in this program which monitors the status of bald eagle wintering populations in the contiguous U.S. by estimating national and regional count trends. Volunteers count eagles along standard, non-overlapping survey routes, which provides information on eagle trends, distribution, and habitat.

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program
Volunteers with this program help monitor the distributions and abundance of frogs and toads. Data collected by citizen scientists contributes to the monitoring of amphibian populations, helps to update distribution maps, and increases our understanding of breeding phenology (when frogs call).

Wildlife Health Event Reporter
This web-based application is a place concerned citizens can go to report sightings of sick or dead wildlife. This information is used by natural resource managers, researchers, and
public health officials to protect the well-being of all living things and to promote a healthy ecosystem.

The Cactus Moth Detection and Monitoring Network
Volunteers are needed to assist state and federal agencies in monitoring the distribution of the cactus moth. Cactus moths quickly destroy strands of pricklypear cactus, and are a threat to natural biodiversity, horticulture, and forage in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. The data collected is used to support modeling efforts to better predict likely locations for new pricklypear cactus and cactus moth.


GLOBE Observer
GLOBE Observer is an international network of citizen scientists and scientists working together to learn more about our shared environment and changing climate. To participate, just download the GLOBE Observer app and submit regular observations.

The GLOBE Observer Program currently accepts cloud observations with a planned expansion. The cloud observations help NASA scientists understand clouds from below (the ground) and above (from space). Clouds play an important role in transferring energy from the Sun to different parts of the Earth system. Since clouds can change rapidly, scientists need frequent observations from citizen scientists.

Since GLOBE Observer is part of the GLOBE program, citizen scientists are also providing data for student research, strengthening science education. Visit for more information

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network provides an opportunity for anyone (including classrooms) to install a rain gauge and report their precipitation amounts to an on-line database.  Your data can help scientists on a local level such as water municipalities and mosquito control experts, but also more broadly such as USGS scientists monitoring streamflow conditions, the National Weather Service and even NASA!
Home page:
CoCoRaHS for Schools:

World Water Monitoring Challenge
This international education and outreach program builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local waterbodies.

More Information
Visit America’s natural and cultural resources volunteer portal and search for volunteer opportunities that suit yourinterests and needs:

Children Learning from USGS

Want to Learn More?
If you have any questions about USGS science contact
USGS Science Information Services at:
Phone: 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747)
E-mail form:
On Facebook:
On Twitter: @USGS

Citizen Science Association
The inaugural Citizen Science Conference took place on February 11-12, 2015! This is a pre-conference to the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. Visit the website for more information on each year's theme, important dates, and calls for proposals.