Citizen Science

What is citizen science?

“Citizen science is the involvement of the public in scientific research” –

Citizen science allows all people to participate in the advancement of scientific knowledge! A citizen scientist may help gather data, discover something extraordinary, or even help advocate for science.


Why should I participate in citizen science?

Citizen science is a great way to learn more about a field that you love and immerse yourself within the science behind it. It’s fun and rewarding – you’re contributing to the scientific community!







How can I participate in citizen science?

There are hundreds of different projects that you can join in on! Below are some resources to get you started. 



Ongoing Paleontology Citizen Science Projects:


“Based at the Florida Museum of Natural History, on the University of Florida campus, the FOSSIL project is cultivating an online community where paleontologists of all skill levels and backgrounds can collaborate through a website and app known as myFOSSIL. myFOSSIL allows the general public to contribute and access the growing digitized collections in U.S. natural history museums, and help them create and share personal digitized fossil collections.”

Get involved:

Sign up here!

Explore, upload, and identify fossils here!

Participate in forums here!

Find paleontological events near you here!




Hill Annex Mine Paleontology Project

Examining the roughly 90 million year old Cretaceous soils scattered across Minnesota, citizen scientists involved with this project can help with mapping, photographing, donating, and documenting the area, as well as assisting with lab work.

Read more and get involved here!





StudentsDiscover Fossil Shark Forensics

shark_teethA great way to involve a class with citizen science, this project asks students to measure and document fossil shark teeth on an online database!

Read more and get involved here!







Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project

Citizen scientists can assist with the excavation of an ecosystem 10,000 years old containing fossil mammals and freshwater fauna.

Read more and get involved here!








Be a real part in ongoing research exploring fossil bearing landscapes in the Turkana Basin in northern Kenya. Here we ask you to help us document what is seen on surface images, including fossil fragments and other artifacts, to assist us in reconstructing past landscapes and environments. More eyes, more information, more discoveries.”

Read more and get involved here!





Citizen Science Project Databases:



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“The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — hundreds of thousands of people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications”

Get involved:

Find a research project here



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“SciStarter is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through providing people access to more than 2700 searchable formal and informal research projects and events.  But more than just a project directory, SciStarter also offers a coordinated place to record contributions and access the tools and instruments needed to participate in citizen science projects like Earth Challenge 2020. Over 100,000 global citizen scientists are part of the SciStarter community.

SciStarter helps bring together the millions of citizen scientists in the world; the thousands of potential projects offered by researchers, organizations, and companies; and the resources, products, and services that enable citizens to pursue and enjoy these activities. [SciStarter] aim[s] to:

  • Enable and encourage people to learn about, participate in, and contribute to science through both informal recreational activities and formal research efforts.
  • Inspire greater appreciation and promote a better understanding of science and technology among the general public.
  • Create a shared space where scientists can talk with citizens interested in working on or learning about their research projects.
  • Satisfy the popular urge to tinker, build, and explore by making it simple and fun for people—singles, parents, grandparents, kids—to jump in and get their hands dirty with science.

Get Involved:

Find a research project here!



Past Citizen Science Projects:

Mastodon Matrix Project:

Citizen scientists from around the globe analyzed samples of fossil matrix sent to them by the Mastodon Matrix Program.


Paleoblitz 2016

Citizen scientists assisted in collecting and identifying fossils in Chickasaw National Recreation Area.


Fossil Blitz 2016

Citizen scientists assisted in fossil collection for the Jurassic Coast Natural History Museum.


Want More Citizen Science? 

Here are some interesting links:

Citizen Science Association

Citizen Science Alliance

US Government Citizen Science Page

On Standardizing Citizen Science and “Interoperability”