When someone becomes a citizen scientist they are making a concerted effort to contribute to the scientific community at large. Essentially, they agree to take part in research processes which help people to understand the world around them. Whether you are measuring pollution, studying bird migration, noting fish catch numbers or monitoring water quality, citizen science is an integral part to learning about the world we live in. The great thing about this field is that there countless ways to get involved with quality work. All you have to do is conduct the proper research in order to find the science project which is right for you.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is currently seeking bird watchers. Bird watching is an important part of citizen science because it allows studies to be conducted on many different species of birds ay one time. Lab researchers can send public volunteers out into the field to observe and record the behaviors of birds. They also monitor bird numbers in areas in which human encroachment is taking place. Data collected can reveal if populations are dwindling in urban areas, and if so, researchers can use this data to determine if pollutants are the main source of the problem.
There are other great benefits to become a citizen scientist as well. One of these benefits involves increasing your chances of getting into the college of your choice. Colleges take a look at extracurricular activities such as volunteer work. If you volunteer as a public scientist, then you can add this to your resume, and colleges will factor this in favorably. Showing that you actively care about the world you live in is a great way to get noticed, especially if you are applying to a school to study medicine or biology.
Citizen scientists stand to personally benefit by actively participating in studies which directly effect their lives. If you have a health condition that you are concerned about, then it can be of great benefit to you if you join a research program. Allowing yourself to be a part of the cure for a disease is perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of this type of volunteer work. It shows that you care about not only yourself, but the health of others around you.
If you are interested in becoming a citizen scientist, you first need to narrow down your main interests. These interests can then be researched in order to find out if there are researchers who are currently looking for public help. Most of the time public volunteers are asked to collect important data for the researchers to analyze. This data is then converted into concrete action as a result of the hard work of the volunteers. Make it a priority to become a well-respected citizen scientist.