Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and non-profit conservation groups offer programs that enable volunteers to assist with scientific research and monitoring. A free series to help people connect with those programs, Citizen Scientist Saturdays, will be offered by MDC’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, 1401 N.W. Park Road in Blue Springs. The first session on the iNaturalist program will be offered from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.
“My idea behind doing Citizen Scientist Saturdays is to get people involved in scientific studies,” said Stephanie Kemp, Burr Oak Woods naturalist. “It’s also a way to bring technology and science together.”
For example, the iNaturalist program on April 28 will show participants how to place cell phone photographs of wildlife and native plants on a website. The photos will become part of a data base about natural life at Burr Oak Woods. Monarch butterfly pictures, for example, might indicate early and late sightings of the butterflies. Over years, information can be a data base used by scientists.
Other sessions through the summer will include ladybug, moth, and butterfly studies. The Citizen Scientist sessions are open to individuals or families. Besides blending technology and science, experts discuss how to record encounters with wildlife, identification tips, and how to help resource managers gather wildlife data.
Registration is required for the Citizen Scientist programs. For more information, call 816-228-3766 or visit http://mdc.mo.gov/burroakwoods.