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Resources for Educators:
Lesson Plans . Field Trip Destinations . Scholarships & Grants . Internships & Volunteer Opportunities . Professional Development . Citizen Science . sSELF Program . Ripples (NYSMEA members-only)

Resources for Educators > Citizen Science

To add citizen science opportunities for teachers or students, please send an email to CitizenScience@nysmea.org.
  • Alewife Spawning Survey (throughout Long Island)
    Volunteers look for alewives (a species of river herring) in streams within their community during the months of April and May. No experience is necessary! Volunteers will be trained during workshops held in mid-March.
    Click or call (631) 626-1269.


  • American Eel Research
    With the decline of American eels on the east coast, research is critical to understand the behavior and habitats of the juvenile “glass eels” that migrate from the Sargasso Sea to the Hudson River tributaries in order to conserve them. Teams of scientists, community volunteers, and students go to their sites on designated days in April and May and record data on glass eels, measure environmental conditions, and release the eels to continue their journey. All volunteers under 18 are accompanied by an adult experienced in the eel research project. On-site training is provided. Click here or E-mail for more information.

  • Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project
    In early spring, forest amphibians move from their woodland habitat to breed in vernal pools, often making dangerous road crossings. Volunteers can help conserve salamanders, frogs, and toads by moving them to safety during migrations; locating high-mortality crossings; and collecting data on this spring phenomenon. Following guidance on the DEC website, volunteers survey roads or known crossings for a few hours during “Big Night” migrations, usually in late March or early April. All ages are welcome, but younger volunteers should be closely supervised due to road safety concerns. Click here or E-mail for more information.

  • Citizen Science Central
    Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research. The site is currently administered by the Department of Program Development and Evaluation at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (Huntington, NY)
    Volunteers assist with water quality monitoring in the Huntington-Northport Bay Complex. All volunteers must attend a free training on water quality monitoring and monitoring techniques in order to participate in Water Logging.
    Click or call (631) 239-1800 ext. 21.

  • Coastal Steward (Port Jefferson, NY)
    Volunteers can participate with the Shellfish Restoration Project. You will help to grow of the shellfish seed and place them into protected sanctuaries. Also, participate in the Adopt-A-Beach or Sponsor-A-Beach programs.
    Click or call (516) 946-6560.


  • Creek Watch
    Use your iPhone and iPod Touch to help your watershed! Creek Watch is an application that enables you to help monitor the health of your local watershed. Whenever you pass by a waterway, spend a few seconds using the Creek Watch application to snap a picture and report how much water and trash you see. Creek Watch aggregates the data and shares it to help watershed groups and agencies track pollution and manage water resources.

  • Friends of the Bay (Oyster Bay, NY) Become a water quality monitoring volunteer or help with other efforts to preserve and protect the waters of the Oyster Bay-Cold Spring Harbor estuary.
    Click or call (516) 922-6666.

  • Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey
    Sample and tag horseshoe crabs along New York’s coast during spring spawning surveys.
      Cornell Cooperative Extension (throughout NY)
      Project Limulus (north shore Long Island)
      LI Horseshoe Crab Network

  • Long Island Seaport & Eco Center (LISEC) (Port Jefferson, NY)
    LISEC needs volunteers to do beach clean-ups, shellfish restoration, and to help with marine education and geology programs. We also need people with carpentry skills to work with our wooden boat building program.
    Click or call (631) 474-4725.

  • Long Island Water Sentinels (Suffolk and Nassau Counties)
    Volunteers are needed to test waterways on a regular basis for baseline data monitoring.  Test kits and training are provided.  Children are welcome with responsible adult supervision.
    Click or call (631) 560-0055

  • National Phenology Network
    The USA National Phenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone.

  • North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP)
    Frog and toad populations around the world are declining due to habitat loss, climate change, fungal disease, and contaminants. Monitoring programs that keep track of where frogs and toads are, and how they are doing, will be a critical part of their conservation and long-term sustainability. Volunteers drive a pre-determined route just after sunset 4 times throughout the spring and summer and listen for calling frogs and toads for 5 minutes at each of the 10 stops on the route. Prior training is provided, and passing an online quiz on identifying frog and toad calls is required. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. Click here or E-mail for more information


  • Phytoplankton Monitoring Network
    As a NOAA-sponsored outreach program, the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) teaches students, teachers, and the general public about phytoplankton and harmful algal blooms. Volunteers sample various sites along the coasts of many different states, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Access everything you need to monitor or to get started monitoring with the PMN. Equipment specifications, sampling protocols, training materials, useful links, and ID practice.

  • River Herring Monitoring Program
    River herring stocks along the east coast are declining, likely due to a combination of dams, water quality issues, invasive species, over fishing, bycatch losses, and increases in predator populations. Monitoring Hudson River tributaries will help to determine the extent of their use by migratory river herring during spring spawning months. Volunteers visit their local tributary twice a week from April 1st to May 31st, and observe the stream for fifteen minutes, monitoring for signs of river herring. River herring identification training is provided. Click here or E-mail for more information.

  • Southold Protection in Aquaculture Training (SPAT) (Southold, NY)
    Volunteers help to maintain their shellfish hatchery and gardens, with boatbuilding, and assist at the aquaculture facility which grows clams oysters and scallops.
    Click or call (631) 852-8660, ext. 34.


  • South Shore Estuary Learning Facilitator (sSELF) Program (throughout Long Island)
    The sSELF project was designed to empower school and/or community groups to be active stewards of their local estuarine environment through education and monitoring. The Long Island South Shore Estuary encompasses 325 square miles of shallow bays and tidal tributaries located along the south shore of Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York.


  • “Trees for Tribs”
    The Hudson River Estuary Program's "Trees for Tribs" initiative is a program that offers free native plants to landowners who qualify for stream buffer restoration projects. The program was developed to reforest unhealthy stream buffers along tributaries (“tribs”) in the Hudson River estuary watershed. “Trees for Tribs” hosts volunteers for seedling potting events in late April at NYSDEC Region 3 Office in New Paltz and tree planting throughout the Hudson Valley in May. All ages are welcome, but younger volunteers must be accompanied by an adult. On-site training is provided. Click here or E-mail for more information.


  • Wildlife Conservation Society (throughout NYC)
    Volunteer at the Bronx, Central Park, Queens, or Prospect Park Zoos or the NY Aquarium.
    Click or call (718) 220-5100.

  • World Water Monitoring Day
    World Water Monitoring Day, held every year in September, is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.  Participants are encouraged to register their site and report their data before December 31 to be included in the Year in Review report.  Test kits can be ordered online and resources are available as free downloads.




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