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MeL Minute

Become a Citizen Scientist with Ideas from

by Laura Warren-Gross on 2023-05-18T09:00:00-04:00 in DIY (Do It Yourself), Science and Technology | 0 Comments

From counting clouds to banding birds, scientific projects involving regular people are common. Not only does this work help scientists, but it also empowers citizens to connect with the natural world. The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) includes peer-reviewed studies, articles, and eBooks that can get regular people involved in scientific study.

eBook Public Library Collection

Receiving a starred review from Library Journal, Citizen Science by Caren Cooper describes how citizen science is not a new field, but rather has become more well-known and widespread due to the Internet and smartphones. Cooper shares how ordinary people participate in projects such as tabulating precipitation totals and tagging Monarch butterflies. Science by the People: Participation, Power, and the Politics of Environmental Knowledge by Aya H. Kimura and Abby Kinchy focuses on the political aspects of citizen science and seeks to understand the impacts it can have on people’s lives and environments. Written for kids, Getting Into Citizen Science by Vic Kovacs is a hands-on guide to help children learn how to participate in projects and keep scientific records. A suggested resource from this book is SciStarter which includes a section of information about how libraries can get involved in citizen science.

Peer-Reviewed Journals

With studies from peer-reviewed journals about the impacts of citizen science, MeL offers a wealth of information. For example, "Creating Synergies Between Citizen Science and Indigenous and Local Knowledge," in BioScience from Science Reference Center, describes aspirational practices to strengthen connections between Indigenous Local Knowledge (ILK) holders and citizen science. When the total solar eclipse occurred in 2017, participants in a citizen science project collected thousands of temperature and cloud observations. These measurements were used to better understand the meteorological effects of the eclipse according to "Eclipse Across America: Citizen Science Observations of the 21 August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse" in the Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology which is included in Applied Science & Technology Source. MeL also provides ideas for school-age learners. The publication Science & Children in Science Reference Center offers a look inside a classroom. "Combining the Old with the New: Using a Historical Text and a Citizen Science App to Engage Student Learning" describes a cross-curricular project for fourth graders.

Getting outside and enjoying all that Michigan has to offer can be enhanced by joining citizen science projects. To get started, browse the MeL eResources for more ideas.

If you have any MeL eResources questions or issues, contact for help.

Brought to you by Laura Warren-Gross from the MeL Team. 

Supporting Michigan Libraries by Putting You First. 

Want more information on MeL?  Stay tuned for the next MeL Minute available on many Michigan library listservs,  visit, or sign up for the MeL Minute and other Library of Michigan e-mail lists via GovDelivery. We encourage you to share MeL Minutes with your colleagues and networks. 

MeL eResources are available to Michigan residents or for Michigan library or school access only. 

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library of Michigan.


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