On Sept. 23, 2022, the CREWS EOD team from the MSU Science Math Resource Center along with MSU PhD student Madison Foster participated in STEM outreach at Chief Joseph Middle School's Outdoor Day. The team hosted two citizen science projects -- one on biodiversity and one on micro-plastics.
Students collected insects and uploaded their observations to iNaturalist, and they tested the waters of Bozeman Ponds for the presence of micro-plastics with the Microplastics Pollution Monitoring Program. Both citizen science projects are accessed through SciStarter.org
The project reached approximately 100 sixth graders and their teachers and parent chaperones.
Citizen science observations submitted to both projects were appreciated by the scientific community:
- One insect photo uploaded to iNaturalist was identified as a Spotted Tussock Moth by two independent scientists and the photo was classified as "research grade." The scientist even clarified that this is considered the larva stage.
The young scientists who submitted data on microplastics at Bozeman Pond received this message:
- This is Joshua Soll from Ocean First Institute, the group that created the microplastics pollution project database. I wanted to thank you so much for adding your incredibly valuable data to the project. As I'm sure you know, microplastics are nearly ubiquitous and have been proven to have an array of adverse effects on the environment and our species. Your contributions to this data sheet will help us get an idea of the presence of microplastics in our environment, that we hope will help inform improved conservation. Thank you again so much!
Chief Joseph Middle School is a Targeted Assistance Title 1 school, receiving federal assistance to provide extra academic support and learning opportunities for children who lag behind in meeting challenging state standards. Title 1 schools typically are serving higher-poverty regions.
For more information on citizen science initiatives through the Science Math Resource Center, visit http://www.montana.edu/smrc/citizenscience.html