Measuring rainfall, an elementary school student reads a rain gauge at a site in Albuquerque.

LTER community science projects partner non-scientist members of the public with research scientists through education and outreach activities. These activities range from local community driven environmental data collection to global scale observations.  Community science participants can come from any age group and represent the diversity of the local community and of the nation.  To aid in data collection, participants use standardized protocols to help ensure the data is of high quality and can be shared with researchers. These data sets can help local stakeholders, policy makers, and scientists better understand the local and regional ecology and to make better-informed management decisions.  Additional benefits of participating as a community scientist include experiencing the outdoors, learning about your local ecosystems and meeting fellow interested people.

Community members may notice changes to the local environment well before researchers arrive on the scene. People in rural areas, hunters, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts are often engaged with their local environment and offer a unique resource and perspective on data collection. Community science programs rely on curious and interested people who wish to share their observations with each other and the world.

young adults scoop nets into a rocky stream

Learn more about LTER research sites operating exciting community science programs near you and explore collected data, research protocols and participant stories.

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CDR)
Sevilleta LTER (SEV)
Florida Coastal Everglades LTER (FCE)
Konza Prairie LTER (KNZ)
Andrews Forest LTER (AND)
Coweeta LTER (CWT)
Plum Island Ecosystems LTER (PIE)