Christine Conn, Ph.D., CC-P®
Director, Office of Science and Stewardship
Chesapeake and Coastal Service
Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
For over a hundred years community members have been supporting nature and those that study it. Collecting invaluable information and data that increases our understanding of natural resources and how to be good stewards of our environment. Volunteering your time to participate in community science provides the number of people needed to collect this irreplaceable data on natural history.
Typically, community science efforts and projects include, but are not limited to, observing wildlife, recording behaviors, and sampling biological data. Many programs have data collection apps that are easy to use from a tablet or smartphone. The efforts are often done on a local level but also contribute to a national network.
Getting involved is easy, and you are in high demand! Check out the resources below,
when you find something that sticks out to you, make a connection with the listed contact or register on their website.
The Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program collects data on milkweed, nectar plants, and monarchs on a national level. The information helps monitor conservation efforts and tracking population numbers and habitat use over time. If you have questions, you can contact Paula Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the Maryland & DC Breeding Bird Atlas 3 project! This is an ongoing operation currently in its third round and will run through 2024. This real-time, online checklist program allows your observations to unite with others to document bird distributions and declines in the region. eBird shares this information with educators, land managers and biologists around the world. Whether you are just beginning birding, or an expert birder, everyone is welcome to help build the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution. If you have questions, you can contact Gabriel Foley at email@example.com.
Lights out Baltimore - - Join this flock of bird rescuers saving the birds and bats of Baltimore City! This is a non-profit project of the Baltimore Bird Club in which the members walk downtown Baltimore during the fall and spring peak migration to rescue injured birds from window collisions. They also work to promote bird-safe building designs and lighting in the city.
USGS, Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab - Utilize these tools and pictures created to help everyone inventory, monitor, identify, manage, and study native bees. For more information please contact Sam Droege, Wildlife Biologist, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-497-5840
Bumble Bee Watch -- Participate in this collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. The website allows you to easily sign-up and start taking and uploading photos of bumble bees. With your online photo collection you can begin to identify the bees which will then be verified by an expert. For questions please contact email@example.com
Got Bats? -- Have you seen bats at your house or in your neighborhood? Bats are commonly
misunderstood but extremely important animals in Maryland. Unfortunately, bats in Maryland and in much of the United States are in decline. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources would love to know more about Maryland's local bat roosts to assist with their conservation! To help out, please fill out the Bat Roost Reporting form. For
information on creating bat houses, check out our Bat Box web page.
Chesapeake Dolphin Watch -- Help Dr. Helen Bailey and her team at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, study the occurrence of dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay. There is an app available that you can use to report a sighting with your current location and about how many you saw. For more information and to report a sighting please download the Chesapeake DolphinWatch app or log onto the website version of the app.
Chesapeake Bay SAV watchers-- Volunteer with the Chesapeake Bay Program for an engaging experience with submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) while also generating useful data for scientists and natural resource managers. Make use of the Water Reporter mobile app to upload photos of SAV while you are out fishing or boating! For questions contact Brooke Landry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-260-8629
Statewide Eyes -- Help track the spread of invasive plants by downloading a free app. The Mid-Atlantic Early Detection Network app was developed to create a national atlas of invasive plants. The app enables anyone to send observations and location information on invasive plants to be used in the mapping system. If interested, contact Paula Becker at Paula.email@example.com or call 410-260-8568
Project Budburst -- Join this national network of people monitoring plants as the seasons change. Participants aid the countries scientists in studying the responsiveness of plant species to changes in climate locally, regionally and nationally.
Stream Waders -- Make a difference in Maryland's waters! Become a stream wader volunteer and help
ascertain stream quality by collecting samples of macro invertebrates from selected streams in March and April. You will receive a one day training session and your samples will be collected, analyzed and used for improvement of watershed management. Please contact Streamwaders.firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter salt watch -- Request a free kit online and start helping the Izaak Walton League of America monitor the impacts of road salt application in the winter months.
Coast and Shoreline -- Help chronicle our changing coast and monitor nuisance flooding in Maryland by simply taking a picture and sharing it! Go to MyCoast or download the app to register. For more information on Maryland’s shorelines and nuisance flooding, visit Maryland Department of Natural Resources CoastSmart Communities program. For questions contact Sasha land at Sasha.Land@maryland.gov or call 410-260-8718
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Banner Photo: Sugarloaf Sunset by Tom Hamilton