Tennessee Naturalist Program

Citizen Science

More and more opportunities are becoming available for Tennessee Naturalists to volunteer with citizen science projects that benefit Tennessee. Many of these opportunities will count toward volunteer hours. Below is a sampling of citizen science opportunities here in Tennessee.

Tennessee Herbarium Specimens

herbariumThe last couple of years, Dwayne Estes, Ashley Morris, and Joey Shaw have been leading the charge to digitize ALL of Tennessee’s herbarium specimens of vascular plants.  The effort is to digitize ~850,000 herbarium specimens in the state.  While we are imaging all specimens and skeletally data basing fields like: species, state, and county, we need to rely on a greater person power to database the remaining fields of every specimen.

We need citizen science volunteers to join in the fun! From time to time we will upload batches of specimens into Notes From Nature to engage volunteers like you to help us enter other important fields of data, like Collector, Date, Locality, … No experience is necessary and after about a 1-minute tutorial (5 slides that will automatically come up at the start) you’ll be free to start seeing Tennessee herbarium specimens! See the flier at right for a little more info, or click on the links to go directly to Notes From Nature, then select "Ferns and Fern Allies of Tennessee" to get started.

Backyard Bird Counts

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.

Scientists use information from the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions.

Other Citizen Science Projects

Monarch butterfly programs through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Monarch Larva Monitoring Program through Univ. of Minnesota.

Shady Invaders tracks invasive shrubs.

Southeastern Avian Research needs volunteers for various projects all over the state.

Stream flow restoration projects and associated work with crayfish.  Check with area watershed groups.

TN Amphibian Monitoring Program (TAMP) now has online self-directed training.

Tennessee Bat Working Group is coordinating a state-wide summer maternity roost monitoring program.

Tennessee Butterfly Monitoring Network is a program of Zoo Knoxville to monitor butterfly population trends on managed lands across Tennessee.

Xerces Society has a variety of invertebrate projects.