Community Science

Community Science engages and empowers communities to participate in the scientific process

For many of us, the term, “science” can be intimidating and even a little mysterious.  It may elicit images of people in lab coats locked away in buildings, discussing topics unintelligible to everyone else.  EDI aims to dispel these myths and demystify the scientific process, by making science accessible to all.

Often, professional scientists need the help of community scientists to deepen our understanding of large-scale problems for which large datasets are necessary.  In other words, scientists need you to help them collect data! 

Scientists especially need help collecting monitoring data, and one of the simplest ways you can help is by recording your observations in nature using the free phone app, iNaturalist. 

Examples of current and ongoing research projects

You can help us, simply by recording your observations in iNaturalist

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RASCALS Program

Researchers for this ongoing project based out of San Diego Natural History Museum need community scientists to help record the presence of reptiles and amphibians throughout Southern California, to test how their habitat use has changed in response to human activities.  

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Border Bioblitz

This annual event is a collaborative effort between researchers and community scientists in both the U.S and Mexico to record the unique constellation of plant and animal species found along the border of our two countries.  

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City Nature Challenge

This international effort depends on community scientists to find and document the presence of plant and animal species across the globe using iNaturalist.  During this annual event, EDI trains teams of community scientists in San Diego County to collect crucial data about the state of our own unique biodiversity.  All observations go into a global database that research scientists use to understand the change in composition, abundance, and habitat use of species over time, as well as make informed decisions about how to protect and preserve San Diego’s flora and fauna.

How To Use iNaturalist

EDI holds regular field trainings on how to use iNaturalist, and we have also created this how-to video for those whom we can’t meet in person!

Keep an eye on this page for additional projects and featured scientists, coming soon!

How To With Seek

We have also created this how-to video for using a related app, called Seek. 

Seek was designed as an alternative to iNaturalist for children to use, but we have found it invaluable for people of all ages who simply want to know, "what is that?"

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