Citizen Science for Tennessee Naturalists

Citizen Science Month - April

Hands on the Land
Includes a variety of monitoring projects. Great guides and information for a few of their monitoring projects, including snails and lichen, which can be a great gateway into exploring life that is commonly found around peoples' homes, schoolyards, and public spaces.


One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.

Journey North
In its 25th year, Journey North is one of North America’s premiere citizen science programs for people of all ages. It provides an easy entry point to citizen science, with simple protocols, strong online support, and immediate results. Reported sightings for numerous animal and plant species are mapped in real-time as waves of migrations move across the continent.


SciStarter is an online community dedicated to improving the citizen science experience for project managers and participants. Over 3,000 projects and events are searchable by location, scientific topic, and age level, and by joining SciStarter, members can track their contributions and provide valuable feedback. SciStarter also supports researchers in managing projects, including best practices for engaging participant partners.


The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications.

* Note only Tennessee focused or National studies that include Tennessee can be counted towards student volunteer hours.

An online community of naturalists who enjoy learning about and sharing our observations of insects, spiders, and other related creatures.

Caterpillars Count!
The site has instructions on monitoring arthropods, as well as some fun ID quizzes to get people started on their arthropod journey. There is of course an app for this project as well which makes for uploading data quite easy.

Dragonfly Pond Watch
An effort of the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership, Dragonfly Pond Watch is a volunteer-based program of the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership(MDP) to investigate the annual movements of five major migratory dragonfly species in North America: Common Green Darner (Anax junius), Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata), Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea), and Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum). By visiting the same wetland or pond site on a regular basis, participants will be placed to note the arrival of migrant dragonflies moving south in the fall or north in the spring, as well as to record when the first resident adults of these species emerge in the spring.

Firefly Watch
Firefly Watch combines an annual summer evening ritual with scientific research. Join a network of citizen scientists around the country by observing your own backyard, and help scientists map fireflies.

The Great Sunflower Project:
The Great Sunflower Project encourages people from all over the United States to collect data on pollinators in their yards, gardens, schools and parks. With a nationwide effort since 2008, by collecting visitation rates of pollinators to all plants (but especially sunflowers!), this project is helping to establish baseline information on pollination services for the entire country and critical resources for pollinators, while also helping to identify areas of conservation concern. This website includes detailed information on pollinator identification and ecology.

Journey North
Monarch butterflies (life cycles), pollinator patches

Migratory Dragonfly Partnership
To better understand and conserve North America's dragonfly migration, dragonfly experts, nongovernmental programs, academic institutions, and federal agencies from the United States, Mexico, and Canada have formed the collaborative Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP).Regular monitoring and centralized reporting among participants across three nations will help us answer some of the many questions currently surrounding dragonfly migration and provide information needed to create cross-border conservation programs to protect and sustain the phenomenon.

Monarch Joint Venture
To understand the monarch migration, we rely on the help of citizen scientists to collect data during all phases of the annual life cycle of monarch breeding, migrating, and overwintering. While measuring and studying overwintering colonies may give us the best estimate of population size, it is important to gain insight into breeding population trends and factors influencing the migration within the U.S. The Joint Venture includes the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, a project designed to better understand the distribution and abundance of breeding monarchs and to use that knowledge to inform and inspire monarch conservation.

Monarch Watch
Details how to report found tags as well as setting up monarch way stations for their journey.

North American Butterfly Association
With 415 count circles across the nation, including 14 in Tennessee, NABA sponsors spring, summer and fall butterfly counts as well as other citizen science efforts throughout the year. Check the count circle map to locate a count and count leader near you.

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

Xerces Society - Community Science Projects
“The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. Our key program areas are: pollinator conservation, endangered species conservation, and reducing pesticide use and impacts.” - or download Bumble Bee Watch app to report from phone.

Reptiles / Amphibians

FrogWatch USA is AZA's citizen science program and provides individuals, groups, and families opportunities to learn about wetlands in their communities by reporting on the calls of local frogs and toads.

Journey North

Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program
The Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program (TAMP) is a volunteer-based, multi-agency effort to assess the current status of amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) across our state, with the goal of learning where they live and how they are doing.

Welcome to Journey North
Frogs - report first singing


eBird began with a simple idea—that every birdwatcher has unique knowledge and experience. Our goal is to gather this information in the form of checklists of birds, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation and education. At the same time, we develop tools that make birding more rewarding. From being able to manage lists, photos and audio recordings, to seeing real-time maps of species distribution, to alerts that let you know when species have been seen, we strive to provide the most current and useful information to the birding community.

Welcome to Journey North
American Robin (first sightings)
Bald Eagle (sightings)
Barn Swallow (return sightings)
Hummingbirds (first sightings)
Orioles (first sightings)
Red-winged blackbirds (first sightings)
Whooping Cranes (sightings)

NestWatch is a nationwide monitoring program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. Our database is intended to be used to study the current condition of breeding bird populations and how they may be changing over time as a result of climate change, habitat degradation and loss, expansion of urban areas, and the introduction of non-native plants and animals.

Project FeederWatch
Project FeederWatch turns your love of feeding birds into scientific discoveries. FeederWatch is a winter-long (November-April) survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. Participants periodically count the birds they see at their feeders and send their counts to Project FeederWatch.

Tennessee Ornithological Society
TOS is an independent non-profit with many chapters across the state. Chapter members participate in bird studies, national bird counts, and other citizen science projects including Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count and The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Tennessee Bluebird Society
An affiliate of The North American Bluebird Society. Collect nesting data from around Tennessee to populate their database for research.

Forb / Ferns / Fungi

Southeastern Grasslands Initiative
The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) is a collaboration of leaders in international biodiversity conservation led by the Austin Peay State University Center of Excellence for Field Biology. SGI also works in close partnership with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and Roundstone Native Seed. SGI seeks to create innovative solutions to address the multitude of complex issues facing Southeastern grasslands, the most imperiled ecosystems in eastern North America.

Budburst citizen scientists work together with research scientists, educators, and horticulturists to answer ecological research questions by making careful observations of the timing of plant life cycle events, also called phenophases. These life events include such events as leafing, flowering, and fruiting phases of plants as well as leaf color and senescence.

Welcome to Journey North
Milkweed (first sighting + Monarch life cycle)
Leaf Out (any species)

North American Mycoflora Project
NAMP’s mission is to create a continent-wide community of volunteer citizen scientists and professional mycologists to document and conserve the biodiversity of North American fungi (Canada, United States and Mexico).


CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, our aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. We are now in all fifty states.

EarthEcho International
The EarthEcho Water Challenge (formerly World Water Monitoring Challenge) is a program of EarthEcho International that runs annually from March 22 (the United Nations World Water Day) through December and equips anyone to protect the water resources we depend on every day. This organization is geared towards reaching the youth of the world..

Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative – Monitoring Cyanobacteria in Lakes
Three coordinated monitoring projects to locate and understand harmful cyanobacteria.

Journey North

What's your water level?
Data entry, geolocation photography, of local water levels, such as flooding or drought conditions

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


eMammal is a data management system and archive for camera trap research projects. This cyber-tool is designed to not only be useful to scientists, but also to the citizen scientists who aid scientists in photo collection. Camera trappers use our software to look at pictures, identify animals and upload them for review and archive at the Smithsonian. These data then help address important conservation-related questions. The pictures provide a unique view into the secret world of wildlife.

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


Budburst citizen scientists work together with research scientists, educators, and horticulturists to answer ecological research questions by making careful observations of the timing of plant life cycle events, also called phenophases. These life events include such events as leafing, flowering, and fruiting phases of plants as well as leaf color and senescence.

Journey North
Leaf-out, Maple sap

National Phenology Network using the Nature's Notebook app.
The project is similar to Budburst in that it tracks phenological changes, however community scientists set up a designated plot where they track phenophase changes for the same trees year after year! Perfect for getting to know trees in backyards or neighborhood parks.


Journey North
Ice-out, Sunlight and Seasons

Classification or tagging, data entry, finding entities, geolocation, identification, observation, photography, site selection and/or description. Rockd allows you to easily record your geological observations and uses your location to provide spatially informed suggestions for nearby geological units, time intervals, and fossils. However, unless work it tied to a specific project, hours will not count as volunteer hours.

Nocturnal Naturalist

Firefly Watch
Firefly Watch combines an annual summer evening ritual with scientific research. Join a network of citizen scientists around the country by observing your own backyard, and help scientists map fireflies.

Natural Astronomical Calendar