Community Science

Engaging and empowering 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. 

Current Projects

You can help by recording your observations on iNaturalist!

California OakWatch

This is a year-round event that monitors the populations of native oak trees in California. You can participate in this conservation project by downloading the iNaturalist app and recording your observations to the California OakWatch page.

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.  

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.

Using 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!

Using 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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