Pioneer Valley
Citizen Science Collaboratory

New Citizen Scientists

Existing Citizen Scientists

Environmental Issues in the Pioneer Valley

Citizen Science Projects

Leaves on a branch

Leaf Drop

The Leaf Drop project, adapted from an existing Forest Schoolyard Ecology Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming project, takes place in the Fall. In this multi week project Citizen Scientists record the changes in leaf color of trees to gain an understanding of the end of growing season in their local context.

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Image of buds on a tree

Bud Burst

The Bud Burst project is a national citizen science project that seeks to learn more about how plants respond to changes in climate locally, regionally, and nationally. Participants report on appearances of plants, either tracking the progress of a single plant over the course of a year or once.

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Spotted salamander

Salamander Watch

Salamander Watch is a collaboration between Hampshire College and The Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst, MA. This project involves both the “Big Night”, a counting of spotted salamanders during the early spring mating migration, and the Egg Mass Count, which is used to get a better estimate of the breeding success and overall health of the population.

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Nest containing three eggs

Neighborhood Nestwatch

Modeled after a Smithsonian project in the Washington, D.C. area, Neighborhood Nestwatch engages citizen scientists from Western Massachusetts in gathering data to discover how urban sprawl impacts songbird populations. Assisted by scientists, participants learn how to locate nests in their backyards and count the eggs or recently-hatched birds within. In addition, the experts apply bands to adult birds so that the citizen scientists can track the birds' year-to-year returns to their nesting sites.

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A firefly in a hand

Firefly Watch

The Boston Museum of Science's Firefly Watch project seeks to learn more about the geographic distribution and activities of fireflies during the summer. It also seeks to discover more about the effects of man-made light and pesticides on fireflies. Participants go out into their backyards or nearby fields one night a week and fill out an observation sheet with information on the weather conditions that night and the behavior of the fireflies that they see.

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A monarch butterfly

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies Watch project engages citizen scientists in collecting data on Monarch butterflies in the Fall as they migrate to Mexico. Future iterations of this project may involve tracking Monarch's migration from Mexico..

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About Pioneer Valley Citizen Science

PVCS is a tool to help people in the Pioneer Valley who are interested in science get involved in local projects and connect with other citizen scientists.
Science is all around us. Some scientists do research while sipping lattes at their local coffee shop.
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To be involved in scientific research you don't need a long white lab coat, giant microscopes, or a PHD in chemistry. In fact, you may not even need to leave your yard. Anyone can be involved in scientific research through citizen science.
Citizen Science occurs when regular citizens get involved in science.

Hampshire College Team

Profile shot of Tim Zimmerman

Tim Zimmerman

Tim Zimmerman is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Cognition and Education in the School of Cognitive Sciences at Hampshire College. As a learning sciences researcher, he focuses on the learning of ocean and environmental science concepts and the design of learning tools that enhance such learning. He studies science learning across formal (classroom) and informal (outdoor, aquarium, museums, field trips, etc.) contexts, the use of science knowledge for environmental decision-making. His work often involves the design and use of Internet-connected, wired and mobile devices as learning tools.

Profile shot of Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan Gardner is a student at Hampshire College studying the ways in which digital technologies have changed and will continue to change how people learn and think about learning. His specific interests include leveraging games and game design for learning purposes, the Internet’s potential for promoting scientific literacy, and the effects of a digital media saturated world on cognition.

Profile shot of Chelsea LaValley

Chelsea LaValley

Chelsea LaValley is a Hampshire College student studying education, psychology and emotion studies. She specifically is interested in social-emotional learning in education. Her concentration involves finding a correlation between SEL and academic achievement; to promote mental health services in the United States public education system. She is originally from Taos, New Mexico and will graduate from Hampshire in the spring of 2015!

University of Toronto Team

Profile shot of Jim Slotta

Jim Slotta

Jim Slotta is an associate professor of education in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at The University of Toronto, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Education and Technology. In 2006, he established the ENCORE lab, a team of talented students, designers and developers who investigate collaborative inquiry learning in formal (K-12) and informal (home, field and museum) settings. In collaboration with researchers from Oslo, Chicago and Berkeley, Slotta and his team have developed the Scalable Architecture for Interactive Learning (SAIL), as well as a framework for smart classroom research called SAIL Smart Space. Recent funded projects have examined the use of embedded phenomena in elementary classrooms, distributed and ubiquitous learning in high school physics, and an immersive rainforest simulation for high school biology. Together, these projects have advanced a theoretical model known as Knowledge Community and Inquiry (KCI). Professor Slotta and his team have published their work widely, as seen in the publications section of this site. Taken together, this work examines how K-12 students can become a knowledge community, supported by technology, that enables inclusive participation and promotes the growth of ideas.

Profile shot of Alisa Acosta

Alisa Acosta

Alisa Acosta is a PhD student with the Encore Lab, bringing her experiences as an environmental scientist/field researcher, secondary science educator, and graphics designer to this project.

Profile shot of Hedieh Najafi

Hedieh Najafi

Hedieh Najafi is a researcher at the Encore lab and contributes to conceptualizing an integrated research component of the PVCS Collaboratory.

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Mike Tissembaum

Mike Tissenbaum is a PhD candidate in Curriculum Teaching and Learning (CTL) department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/The University of Toronto. Mike received my Master’s from the Faculty of Information (iSchool) at the University of Toronto and am also a graduate of their Knowledge Media Design Institute collaborative program.

Profile shot of Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry is a web developer currently working at Encore Lab at the University of Toronto. He works on a variety of projects for researchers using many different tools, libraries and frameworks (node, backbone, jquery, underscore, ruby-on-rails, css3/sass, etc). I primarily write code, but increasingly he is gaining experience with project management and product design.

Thomas holds a bachelors of arts in History and Geography from Brock University and a Master of Information Science from the University of Toronto. in 2013 graduated from Bitmaker Labs web development bootcamp and HackerYou's response web development course in 2013

University of Colorado, Denver Team

Profile shot of Tam Vu

Tam Vu

Dr. Tam Vu is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado, Denver where his teaching and research focus on the design and use of networked mobile technology.

Profile shot of Phuc Nguyen

Phuc Nguyen

Phuc Nguyen is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Denver. His research interests include wired/wireless networking and mobile computing.

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