Citizen Science Opportunities via the National Museum of Natural History

Anyone can be a citizen scientist–especially you! It only takes an interest, some curiosity, and a little time to volunteer. Tweens and teens who want to contribute to real science can get involved. Teachers can bring citizen science into their classrooms, engaging students in authentic and relevant science. And naturalists from Fairfax County!

The Museum of Natural History collaborates with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Virginia Working Landscapes, City Nature Challenge 2018, and other organizations to design rewarding, meaningful opportunities for those of us willing to volunteer for them.

Ask other naturalists to join you and do the work as a team!

Learn more and sign up





FrogWatch USA looking for volunteers to monitor calls this summer. Training in March

FrogWatch USA at the National Zoo is in its sixth season. To date, they have monitored 75 sites in DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maine and have submitted 1,650 frog call observations.

Tracking frog populations throughout the United States, FrogWatch invites participants to choose a monitoring site that is easily accessible and close to where they live or work to listen to frogs that are calling throughout the warmer months.

Three indoor trainings will help orient people to the frogs that are in the DC-metro area and their calls. Content is the same, so choose one training that fits your schedule. If you are interested please contact Matt Neff: [email protected]


Sat., March 3rd, 3:00-6:00pm @ NZP – Rock Creek Campus

Thur., March 8th, 6:00-9:00pm @ Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA

Sat., March 17th, 3:00-6:00pm @ NZP – Rock Creek Campus


Register for Washington Area Citizen Science Regional Meeting, 9 February

Area-wide citizen scientists are meeting at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to discuss 2018 City Nature Challenge (CNC) and how you might get involved. Join them Friday, 9 February 2018, 9:00 am – 11:00 am.


Presentation by Chris Meyer, PI Moorea Biocode

2018 City Nature Challenge (CNC)

  • International and Regional Overview
  • CNC Basics: How to Get Started, Tools and Resources for participation
  • What We’re Up To – Local Projects Underway, Identification Parties, Q and A
  • Ideas and Pitches for collaboration, cool projects

Regional Network Updates

An optional 30-minute iNaturalist training will  following the meeting.

Please RSVP to: [email protected]

Michelle Prysby’s December Keynote Highlights Virginia Master Naturalists’ Response to State and National Needs

As wild habitat disappears across the United States, and funding for natural resource conservation recedes, the need for conservation volunteers has never been greater. According to Michelle Prysby, Virginia Master Naturalist Program Director, master naturalist programs help buffer natural and man-made threats in measurable ways.

Since the 1990s, master naturalist programs have sprouted up in more than 30 states, many inspired by the 20-year-strong Texas program and nurtured by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Created in 2005, Virginia’s own program now has 29 chapters, with a new one in the works in the Middle Peninsula region, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

In 2016, Virginia Master Naturalists delivered about 140,000 hours of volunteer work to the Commonwealth, worth approximately $4 million. Most of that work came in the form of citizen science.

This context for the Fairfax Master Naturalists was central to Prysby’s keynote at our December 8 annual meeting and graduation of the Fall 2017 class of volunteers. Prysby serves on the extension faculty of the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, and spoke at the December meeting in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Fairfax chapter.

Prysby, who remembers the founding of our chapter, highlighted  outcomes that have helped natural resource agencies with conservation efforts. Results range from maintaining songbird habitat and native wildflower gardens to water monitoring and repairing riparian buffers that improve water quality.

With seven different natural resource agencies as sponsors, Virginia Master Naturalists is unique among programs in the United States. The agencies’ faith in and funding for this growing cadre of volunteer naturalists stem from the return on their investment in the program. Statewide, master naturalists deliver many benefits: Managing invasive species, adopting birding and wildlife trails, and providing needs assessment and strategic planning that support and expand agency capacity.

A certified Virginia Master Naturalist herself, Prysby also serves as the current president of a national organization–the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs. Wearing that hat in addition to her Virginia role gives her a keen perspective on conservation stewardship nationally.

To sustain and further our excellent work, Prysby and FMN leadership invite applications for the Spring 2018 class.–Michael Reinemer, FMN President

Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee looking for volunteers

Reston Association’s (RA’s) Environmental Advisory Committee is looking for volunteers to help prepare the 2018 Reston Annual State of the Environment Report (RASER)

What is RASER?

It is an environmental report card that evaluates the condition of several environmental attributes of the Reston community and makes recommendations to protect or improve their conditions. The 2017 RASER can be viewed on the Nature Overview page of the RA website at:,RecreationEvents/NatureEnvironmental Resources/NatureOverview/tabid/959/Default.aspx

What do we need?

A few volunteer citizen scientists or environmental professionals willing to work in a team environment to collect, assess, and summarize data pertinent to one or more of the following topics: air quality, water quality, vegetation, wildlife, light pollution, hazardous and toxic waste, solid waste, noise, urban agriculture, and energy conservation.

When do we need help?

The 2018 RASER project gets underway in January with a final report to the Reston Association Board of Directors by September 2018. The RASER Working Group meets once a month, but individual chapter teams may meet more often.

How do I apply to help?

Contact Doug Britt, RASER Working Group Project Director, at: [email protected] and type “RASER interest” in the subject line.

Does it qualify for VMN service hours?

Yes it does: Under Citizen Science # 245.