Citizen Science

Involving citizens in scientific discovery in the natural environment

What Is Citizen Science?

The term citizen science is relatively new and defined in various ways. Here are a few definitions from several sources. Please share your definition as part of WSG's Citizen Science Survey, cited below.

“Projects that engage the public in making observations and collecting and recording data”
Washington Sea Grant, Washington State University Extension
and the Citizen Science Advisory Panel
“Projects in which volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions”
Citizen Science Central, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
“Projects or ongoing program of scientific work in which individual volunteers or networks of volunteers, many of whom may have no specific scientific training, perform or manage research-related tasks such as observation, measurement or computation”
“A contract between scientists and citizens to collect, verify, analyze and report out from rigorous, high quality data of direct relevance to natural resource management, conservation and environmental health and quality”
Coastal Observation And Seabird Survey Team (COASST)
“The involvement of nonscientists in scientific research”
Prysby and Oberhauser 2004

Washington Sea Grant Citizen Science Projects

Study the shellfish on your beach, report unusual events in Hood Canal or monitor birds near Allyn Waterfront Park.  Learn about these and other WSG-sponsored citizen science projects and get contact information for participating in the protection and restoration of the state’s marine habitats and resources. 

Visit the WSG Citizen Science Projects Web page.

Supporting and Enhancing Citizen Science in Washington

Citizen Science Survey

WSG is investigating opportunities to support and enhance marine-related citizen science efforts throughout Washington. Please take a short survey and share your thoughts on citizen science:

Recommendations to the Puget Sound Partnership

The Puget Sound Partnership contracted Washington Sea Grant and Washington State University Extension to develop recommendations for advancing citizen science to meet Puget Sound Action Agenda priorities. These recommendations are contained in a report submitted to the Puget Sound Partnership in July 2009. 

Learn more and download a copy of the WSG/WSU report and stand-alone executive summary: