In Girl Scouts, girls are taking on some of the biggest challenges and problems facing our planet—and they’re solving them! This month will be no different! April is Citizen Science Month—celebrate by participating in the global movement responsible for answering those crucial questions the one scientist would not be able to tackle on their own. Citizen science is an opportunity for individuals of all ages to contribute through data collection and research. Whether you decide to measure the night sky brightness, observe nature or monitor the indoor and outdoor water quality, you—and the millions of individuals around the world coming together—are leaving a long-lasting impact.

There are thousands of projects a citizen scientist can do throughout the month, including several you can complete from the comfort of your own home. To find a citizen science project, visit SciStarter.

Participating in a citizen science project is a requirement for finishing the Think Like a Citizen Science Journey. In this Journey, girls find out how citizen scientists make observations, collect data, and work with scientists to receive feedback on research. For more information or to start participating, visit https://scistarter.com/girlscouts.

Here are five projects that you can do from your home or backyard:

  1. COVID Near You is an opportunity for the public to quickly and easily report COVID-19-related symptoms and testing. Using participant­ submitted reports, COVID Near You maps this information and provides local and national views of the illness. Submitting a report takes less than five minutes.
  2. Zoological Society of London (ZSL)’s Instant Wild has projects all over the world—from Kenya to Italy to Borneo. By identifying the animals in the live imagery, you are contributing to conservation and making a positive impact on the future for wildlife by helping scientists monitor animal movements. Visit the website or download the free app from the iOS or Android app stores.
  3. iNaturalist is an online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists and biologists building on the concept of mapping and sharing their observations of biodiversity across the globe. Observations recorded with iNaturalist provide essential data to scientific research projects, conservation agencies, other organizations, and the public. Be sure to join the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Project and the Girl Scouts SciStarter Project to add your observations to those from other Girl Scouts around the region and beyond.
  4. The City Nature Challenge is an annual international event for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. Observations of animals, plants, and other living things are made and shared over the weekend of April 24–27, and observations are identified by crowdsourcing the weekend of April 28–May 3. You can make observations anywhere—your backyard, neighborhood or local park. As with any citizen science project, be sure to follow all public health and safety guidelines.
  5. Ant Picnic is a project you can do in your backyard to help inform scientists about the food preferences of ants. To participate, you will prepare six “picnics” for ants to learn more about what they prefer to snack on by submitting info about the environment, counting the ants, and taking a picture of your experiment.

We want to hear how our eastern Missouri Girl Scouts are exploring their natural surroundings! DM us a picture and tell us a bit about the activity via Instagram (@girlscoutsem). Or, shoot us an email at communications@girlscoutsem.org.