What is Community Science?

Community science is research conducted by the public in collaboration with scientists. Anyone with an interest in science can take part in a wide range of community research projects. Many projects are even open to young students and offer an opportunity to fuel their passions for the natural world.

Why is it Important?

Community science allows researchers to gather large amounts of data more efficiently. A small team of scientists can only collect so much information, but with the community’s help, they can have access to a much larger range of data. It also enables community members to gain a greater understanding and more prominent say in current scientific issues that affect their lives. The more folks learn about local science research, the more they can have a say on pressing science topics. 

How Can You Get Involved?

Websites like Scistarter.org allow you to find community science opportunities and search by topic and location. You can also look for opportunities at a university near you, or partner with local environmental groups. Some current ongoing community science projects in Florida include: 

All of these projects are currently available on Scistarter.org, and many of them only require one training session or instruction video before you get to help out with science research. A majority of community science projects require no special skills or prior education, just a willingness to learn!

Other Ways to Participate

If you are unable to commit to a specific project, there are also crowdsourcing apps that provide ongoing data for scientists. For example, iNaturalist allows you to document any animals, insects, and plants you see with a photo and location tag. Scientists will then verify the species and use your sighting for their studies! 

Another way to be involved with science in your community is by reporting invasive species. Animals like Burmese pythons, Nile monitors, and tegu lizards pose a huge threat to our ecosystems. If spotted, you can contact the FWC through their phone, website, or app called “IveGot1.”