A citizen scientist volunteer works with a youth at the Beach Blitz event.

Thanks to a recent staff regrouping, citizen science programs in New Hampshire will gain new attention and support by UNH Cooperative Extension.

Citizen science happens when volunteers collaborate with researchers on science projects, often collecting data about the natural world. New Hampshire has a long history of citizen science, with programs like NH Audubon’s NH Bird Records, which began in 1921, and the NH Lakes Lay Monitoring Program, currently administered by Extension and started at UNH in 1978.

Coastal Research Volunteers participate in glass eel monitoring studies.

Most recently, UNH Extension created an online citizen science hub through the Stewardship Network: New England that brings together more than 40 different N.H.-based citizen science projects, making it easier for interested people to volunteer for nature and science.

“We’re excited to establish a new ‘area of expertise’ in citizen science,” said Malin Clyde, an Extension specialist in community volunteer development who will chair the new group. “Citizen science is a growing trend in the U.S. and the world, and UNH Cooperative Extension has a large group of staff — and volunteers — who are excited by citizen science.”

The new citizen science area of expertise will include Extension staff Haley Andreozzi, Malin Clyde, Bob Craycraft, Mary Tebo Davis, Alyson Eberhardt, Caitlin Peterson and Annette Schloss. “Between us, we have dozens of years of experience working with citizen science volunteers and researchers. We look forward to strengthening our own work and that of others working in citizen science in N.H.,” said Alyson Eberhard, an Extension and N.H. Sea Grant specialist in coastal ecosystems who oversees the Coastal Research Volunteer program.

A volunteer with the Lakes Lay Monitoring Program holds a water testing apparatus

In December 2017, the new citizen science group will co-sponsor an event to bring the N.H. citizen science community together in Portsmouth as part of the N.H. State of Our Estuaries Conference. Titled “Stories from the Field: Celebrating Citizen Science in New Hampshire,” the conference will feature volunteer storytellers and citizen science programs based at state agencies, local non-profits, universities and watershed groups across the state. 

“Given Extension’s strong track record in volunteers and citizen science, this new working group will help connect university and agency researchers to trained volunteers — as well as give volunteers great opportunities for hands-on learning,” said Jeff Schloss, Extension’s natural resources program leader.