This site is optimized for use with Firefox version 3.6 or higher and Internet Explorer version 7 or higher.

For an optimal user experience, please utilize a newer version of either of these browsers.

Highlights Archive
NOAA Office of Education NOAA Office of Education NOAA Homepage


Highlights Archive


On our Oceans and Coasts

Published March 2016

Participants in the Hudson River Eel Project enjoy their work.
(Credit: Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve)

NOAA Office of Education hosted the Federal Community for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science first monthly meeting of 2016 with a focus on how citizen science can be used to study oceans and coasts.

Four panelists from the NOAA Citizen Science Community of Practice showcased projects that are making a positive impact on the health of our oceans and coasts:

Chris Bowser, Education Coordinator for the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Science Education Specialist for the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Project opened our session with a lively presentation "Respect Your Elvers! Migratory Fish Conservation through Citizen-Science." The Hudson River Eel Project is a citizen-science program where 500 trained volunteers catch, count, and release migrating American eels into Hudson River tributaries from NYC to Albany. Since 2008 this project has released over 250,000 eels above barriers to migration.

Jenna Jambeck, an Associate Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia discussed the success of the Marine Debris Tracker app she co-developed, highlighting the power of citizen science data collection to spread awareness and inform solutions. With over 12,000 downloads of the app and more than 81,000 marine debris entries, the project is growing strong!

With new legislation banning microbeads in soaps and toothpaste, the work of a specialized group of citizen scientists in Florida is particularly timely. Maia McGuire, a Florida Sea Grant Extension Program agent at the University of Florida, created the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project in 2015. Funded by a NOAA Marine Debris Outreach and Education grant, the project trains volunteer citizens to collect coastal water samples, filter the samples, then identify and report microplastics found.

Crowd-sourced bathymetry was the focus of Lieutenant Anthony Klemm's fascinating presentation. Lt. Klemm, with the NOAA Commissioned Officers Corp, works at NOAA's Office of Coast Survey and discussed NOAA's support of the International Hydrographic Organization's Crowdsourced Bathymetry Project

The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Richard G. Hendrickson, a citizen science volunteer extraordinaire who contributed to the Weather Service’s corps of Cooperative Observers for more than 80 years. You can learn about Mr. Hendrickson and his legacy from this article from the Washington Post and this op-ed.

Back to top


White House Highlights Open Science and Innovation

Published October 2015

Volunteers count and identify crab molts at Deer Lagoon on Whidbey Island, WA, as part of the Washington Sea Grant Green Crab Monitoring Project. Photo credit: P. Sean McDonald

On September 30, 2015 NOAA participated in a White House forum on citizen science and crowdsourcing entitled “Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People.” Hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Domestic Policy Council (DPC), the forum was designed to raise awareness of the benefits of citizen science and to encourage the growth of such programs across Federal agencies. NOAA is an active participant in a Federal government-wide effort to support the use of citizen science and crowdsourcing, and we are excited that NOAA’s mPING project and CoCoRaHS, an Environmental Literacy Grants recipient, were highlighted by the White House as successful examples of citizen science efforts in the federal government.

The Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit, a key resource launched in conjunction with the White House forum, provides case studies and ‘best practice’ insights for implementing citizen science and crowdsourcing in a federal context. NOAA was one of over 25 federal agencies that offered input into the development of the toolkit.

You can find more information about the support we offer citizen science and crowdsourcing here.

Back to top


NOAA Education Participates in GLOBE Program Annual Meeting

Published August 2015

Participants of the 19th GLOBE Annual Partner Meeting and the 3rd Student Research Exhibition represent countries from around the world .Credit: The GLOBE Program..

The NOAA Office of Education was pleased to participate in the 19th GLOBE Annual Partner Meeting and the 3rd Student Research Exhibition.  This international event, which took place 19-24 July in the city of Los Angeles, provided a chance for its 225 participants to reflect on and celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the GLOBE Program.   We offer thanks to the event host, GLOBE Partner Mr. Henry Ortiz, and the rest of the planning team, and the sponsors (NASA and NSF) for the chance to discuss the present and future of this unique program

Back to top


Citizen Science at the White House

Published April 2015

Nolan Doesken, founder of the CoCoRaHS Network, proudly displaying a rain gauge at the 5th White House Science Fair (credit: Darlene Cavalier/SciStarter).

NOAA’s Office of Education is excited to have partnered with the White House and the National Park Service to install a rain gauge in the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden to help recognize contributions of citizen scientists to our Nation. This installation was part of the 5th White House Science Fair and measurements from the gauge are being shared as part of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network, the largest source of daily precipitation data in the United States.

CoCoRaHS is a citizen science network that has received two NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant (ELG) awards and is a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador™. The Network engages thousands of people (currently over 20,000 active volunteers) of all ages in measuring and investigating precipitation. Participants use low-cost, high-capacity rain gauges along with rulers and foil-wrapped Styrofoam "hail pads" to accurately measure rain, hail and snow. More information on this exciting project, including how to join, is available from their web site.

As a science mission agency, NOAA has a rich tradition of supporting citizen science. Today that tradition is being carried on with citizen science projects fostered and supported across the Agency. There are currently over 65 active such projects, many of which began within the past few years. A NOAA Citizen Science Community of Practice was launched in the fall of 2013 to help foster sharing and collaboration among these projects. The Community of Practice is facilitated by NOAA's Office of Education and in the spirit of the citizen science field, relies on grassroots participation from community members throughout the Agency.

Through citizen science, millions of volunteers across our Nation actively contribute valuable time and expertise to help advance our understanding of the world around us. The ability to empower a single individual or local community to contribute to a much larger initiative makes citizen science a powerful concept. The contributions of citizen scientists are valued, and the power of the concept is recognized. In the 2013 Second Open Government National Action Plan President Obama called on agencies to harness the ingenuity of the public by accelerating and scaling the use of open innovation methods such as citizen science and crowdsourcing. A blog post from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy provides more details about the CoCoRaHS rain gauge at the White House and federal support for citizen science.

Back to top