Digging science: Citizens amplify knowledge about the natural world

The potential for non-scientists to become part of real science is amazing. Does anybody know if there is a central repository of citizen science projects?

We’re on the cusp of a major revolution in the way we approach environmental science. In February, a water sample showed that the first trace amounts of ocean-borne radioactive contamination from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster reached North American shores. The sample wasn’t taken from an oceanographic vessel. It was collected in a 20-litre sample bottle from the public dock in Ucluelet, B.C., by a class of Grade 5 and 6 girls participating in a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution project that connects concerned citizens from North American communities around the Pacific shores. A decade ago, this type of organizing and sample-taking by engaged citizens would have been inconceivable.