Photo courtesy of YNP

Calling all citizen scientists


Science is not reserved only for those with post doctorates. From researching the night sky to investigating insects in Yellowstone National Park, there is plenty of room for citizen scientists of any age.

Help collect data for the Globe at Night campaign – an international “campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure and submit their night sky brightness observations,” according to the website. Or, more specifically to this area, assist Yellowstone Forever and the National Park Service gather data for the Yellowstone Phenology Project.

“Phenology is the study of nature’s calendar, especiallyin relation to climate, and the timing of plant and animal life cycles,” a press release said.

The Yellowstone Phenology Project is working with National Ecological Observation Institute (NEON) to engage youth and adults from “all backgrounds to collect essential data to help park scientists and managers better understand how the Yellowstone ecosystem is responding to changing environmental conditions.”

Real data will be collected with the volunteer opportunity to help fill the knowledge gap about park plants, insects and what that information can tell about changes to the park over time. From field team leaders and team members hiking miles in the park and helping to collect predacious Carabid beetles, to a lab team member wielding a microscope and learning about order and family level insect taxonomy, sorting insects, mounting and labeling specimens from home, volunteers are needed. There is also an opportunity for a macro photography assistant perfect for anyone with photo editing or graphic design skills who can help illustrate the “beauty and diversity” of the specimens.

More information can be found by visiting www. citizen-science/phenology- project or by contacting Erik Oberg, National Park Service Biologist at

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