All libraries are closed until further notice. No late fines will be assessed for overdue items, and you can return materials when libraries reopen. COVID-19 response and resources.
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Neighborhood Science

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Investigate. Share. Transform.

Neighborhood Science, more commonly known as Citizen Science or Crowd-Sourced Science, is ordinary people of any age gathering scientific information locally and sharing it with the global scientific community.

Be a Neighborhood Scientist. Attend one of our free workshops or go solo and borrow one of our DIY kits from a participating library (available upon the re-opening of library locations).

You can help with the COVID-19 pandemic

Besides practicing social distancing and washing your hands, there's more you can do to help the world during this pandemic. Join us in doing some real science in and for your neighborhood and help the professional and academic scientific communities accelerate their research and solve real world problems.

These projects are for all ages and perfect for families and classrooms.

Get involved with efforts to track the COVID-19 virus and help accelerate the research for cure

  • COVID Near You
    Contribute your health status daily and help scientists and public health researchers track the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. It also provides you insight of the spread in your community.
  • COVID-19 Citizen Science by UCSF (iOS | Android)
    Anyone 18 years of age and older can help the UCSF COVID-19 researchers learn more about how the novel coronavirus is spreading throughout the world and ways to predict and prevent further infections. You can contribute to the study using the mobile app, which involves a series of surveys and collection of smartphone and potentially device-related data. The initial survey to get your account set up takes about 5 minutes. After that you will receive a reminder to contribute one minute of your day to update your daily health status using the app.
  • Corotrac (Web)
    Governments and hospitals cannot track people who self-isolate at home. Use Corotrac to contribute your data by reporting self-isolation and symptoms anonymously throughout your isolation period. With a better understanding of the number of COVID-19 cases and homes in self-isolation in your area, you can also do more to help support the most vulnerable members of your community. Reporting can be done in English, Spanish, and other languages.
  • FoldIt
    Play the game to fold and design proteins for scientific research on COVID-19. Compete with other players to discover high-scoring protein folds, which represent a protein's physical structure. The game is perfect for puzzle lovers and it does not need prior knowledge about protein folds. Registration is required.
  • Folding@Home
    Proteins are molecular machines that perform many functions we associate with life. Viruses also have proteins that they use to suppress our immune systems and reproduce themselves. It is important to understand how proteins can fold incorrectly to cause disease.You can help scientists at Stanford University and around the globe to accelerate the research for effective treatment for COVID-19. Just donate your personal desktop or laptop computer's computing power by downloading Folding@home software and let it run protein folding simulations in the background while you continue your business on your computer as usual. The simulations run using your computing power are shared with the researchers.
  • Corona-Land
    Participate in a survey to help researchers improve the COVID-19 virus simulator. The simulator allows you to explore how different variables influence the spread of virus and affect the healthcare system and the ability to treat infected patients, and what we can do to contain it. The simulator is useful for educators, parents or anyone who need a visual aid to help explain the impact of different mitigating strategies, such as social distancing, and adapting behaviors such as frequent handwashing, etc. The simulator is best used on a desktop computer.

Fun science projects you can do to help save the world while staying at home

  • iNaturalist (iOS | Android)
    Come across a bug, animals, tree, or plant you've never seen before? Snap a photo and upload it to the app using your smart device or desktop computer with internet, it will help you identify your observations with the help of built-in Artificial Intelligence (AI), amateur naturalists, hobbyists, and professional scientists from around the globe, who are part of the iNaturalist community. When your observations reach Research Grade they become important data that can be used for real scientific research. You are also helping the world to learn more about the biodiversity in your community.
  • Seek by iNaturalist (iOS | Android)
    Kid-friendly version of iNaturalist.
  • Loss of the Night (Android | iOS)
    Uses the camera feature on your smart device to help measure light pollution in your neighborhood and share your observation with real scientists. You can even learn some stargazing skills.
  • Night Sky Light Pollution (iOS | Android) project on Anecdata.org.
    Help astronomers measure light pollution at night by taking photos of the sky with your smartphone. You will also need to download a DSLR camera app that allows you to adjust the ISO of your smart device's camera.
  • Crowd the Tap (Web)
    Help researchers create a national inventory of water pipes by finding out the type of water pipe in your home.
  • EPA Smoke Sense (iOS | Android)
    Help EPA researchers further their study on how exposure to wildfire smoke impacts public health and improves health risk communication methods. Use the app to report your health symptoms, smoke experience, observations, and behaviors taken to reduce your exposure to smoke anonymously. The app maps current wildfire locations and provides current and forecasted air quality measures. You can also learn about wildfires and smoke health risks in your area.
  • NASA Silent Earth Project. Download the Anecdata.org app (iOS | Android)
    Learn about environmental noise pollution and use your smartphone to make sound level measurements and share it on a world map. The goal is to discover the quietest outdoor places in your town, rural location, or even just right outside of your front door.
  • NASA GLOBE Observer (iOS | Android)
    Make environmental observations that complement NASA satellite observations to help scientists studying Earth and the global environment. By using the GLOBE Observer app, you are joining the GLOBE community and contributing important scientific data to NASA and GLOBE, your local community, and students and scientists worldwide. Try one of the following projects (aka protocols) to start.
    • Mosquito Habitats Mapper Protocol
      Help NASA scientists track and predict the spread of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease outbreaks across the globe. Tutorials included.
    • Clouds Protocol
      Help NASA scientists and researchers validate their satellite data on clouds. Tutorials included.
    • Trees Protocol
      Take tree height and circumference measurements in your neighborhood to help scientists and researchers. Your observation can help improve their satellites' accuracy in measuring the height of features on Earth's surface. Scientists can also better understand how trees help us balance Earth's carbon budget. Tutorials included in the app.

Fun citizen science games to learn about real world problems while contributing to real scientific research to help solve them

  • Earthgames
    Play a game from this game developer community to learn more about the natural world and our role within it. Most games are apps available on iOS and Android platforms.
  • The Climate Trail (iOS | Android)
    Play this survival game as one of the climate refugees fleeing ever-worsening conditions after inaction on climate has rendered much of the USA (and the world) uninhabitable. As you journey north in search of a safe haven, you will learn from other characters who reveal how and why this climate apocalypse unfolded.
  • Questagame (iOS | Android)
    Play the world's first mobile game that takes you outdoors to discover, map, and help real scientists and researchers understand how we can better manage and protect biodiversity in a changing world. Just snap a photo of any life (e.g, animals, insects, bugs) you come across and upload them to the app. You will earn gold for every sighting you share and more gold if you can identify the species, or if it is rare.
  • Stall Catchers
    Help accelerate research on Alzheimer's Disease by playing this game. Your participation can help researchers fully understand how stalls are contributing to Alzheimer's and discover potential treatment targets.
  • Earth Challenge 2020 (EC2020)
    Citizen science app (Android | iOS) where you can help scientists and researchers collect billions of data on air quality and plastics pollution. Just follow the super simple instructions to take a couple of observation photos and submit.

Looking for more? Check out the citizen science projects at the following resource sites

  • Scistarter
    Join this online community where you can find over 3,000 projects and events searchable by location, scientific topic, and age level. Sign up for a free SciStarter account to track your contributions and provide valuable feedback.
  • NASA's Citizen Science Projects
    Want to work on some real NASA science to help NASA researchers and scientists make important scientific discoveries? Get started with one of these projects. Projects with a little person icon can be done by anyone, anywhere, with just a cellphone or laptop.
  • EPA Citizen Science
    Explore and participate in the EPA-supported citizen science projects to help advance environmental protection by helping communities understand environmental problems and collect quality data used in research to improve environmental health.
  • Zooniverse
    Find hundreds of projects where young people can collaborate on real science research.
  • Anecdata.org
    Citizen science platform with 160+ citizen science projects worldwide. Sign up for an account by downloading the Anecdata.org app (iOS | Android) or through their website.

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