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No matter how young you are, you can be a scientist and help other scientists right from your own back yard. Real scientists can’t be everywhere, so they count on citizens like you and me to gather information about what we see, hear and smell in our own communities. As a 4-H Citizen Scientist, you submit your “research” online and it’s added in with data from all around the world to help scientists solve problems and understand our natural environment. 

How does the program work? Illinois 4-H connects you with researchers who need help collecting data. You might be observing birds, frogs, plants, or weather. You might be collecting samples from local rivers. You might be counting insects. Citizen Scientists provide the legs, eyes and ears for researchers as they collect and contribute data that would be difficult to collect by a few individuals. For young people, it provides an opportunity for them to connect with the out of doors in a real, meaningful and fun way! In some cases, you’ll need training before you can begin collecting data. We help you with that, too.

Participating in citizen science activities gives a context to youth observations and can serve as an introduction to doing scientific investigations. 4-H members engaged in citizen science activities learn for themselves the multifaceted nature of scientific research. 4-H members not only learn scientific concepts, but they can practice their understanding to investigate the natural work through the process of scientific inquiry. Through the use of their senses members can identify connections between a healthy environment and productive habitats that support varied forms of life. Citizen science opportunities can be motivational when members know that their data will be used to address real-world issues of local and global interests.

Youth will:

  • Connect with the natural world,
  • Gain scientific skills,
  • Learn key science concepts related to topics such as water quality, life cycles, habitats, adaptations and interrelationships. 

Click the “Request Program” to bring a Citizen Science program to your school, or “Contact” to work with a small group or 4-H Club.

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