About Citizen Science

Citizen Science is a partnership between scientists and the broader community. It allows the every-day person to participate in fun and exciting research projects, and to experience the natural world in a new way. It allows the scientist to enlist a small, or in some cases, a large army of volunteers to help collect data that wouldn't be possible without the help of the community. North Branch Nature Center engages in a number of Citizen Science projects, on a local, regional, and national scale. See below for details about how to get involved in Citizen Science through NBNC.

Citizen Science Through the Seasons





Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

The CBC is a nation-wide citizen science project of the Audubon Society, in operation for over a century. Director Chip Darmstadt now compiles the Plainfield CBC, in which North Branch staff and members have participated for many years. The CBC takes place between December 14 and January 5 every year.

Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)

The GBBC is another nation-wide project, and is a joint project of the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This event takes place over an extended weekend in February. NBNC has participated in this event with a teen birding trip.

Amphibian Monitoring Program (AMP)

The AMP is a project of the North Branch Nature Center which seeks to monitor amphibians as they cross roads on their annual spring migration. Data is pooled with a like-minded organization, Save the Salamanders, and is also submitted to our state herpetologist for analysis.

Peregrine Monitoring

The Peregrine Falcon has made an amazing rebound over the past few dacades, after being all but whiped out from the east coast. This program, coordinated by the National Wildlife Federation and the Vermont Department Fish and Wildlife, seeks to monitor Vermont's Peregrine Falcon population. NBNC will be monitoring a site at Marshfield Cliffs, and are happy to bring groups along.

Chervil Rangers

Wild Chervil is a fairly recent, and unwelcomed, arrival to the state of Vermont. By joining the Chervil Rangers, a project of the North Branch Nature Center, you can help control this invasive species, and prevent it from displacing native species. Please download a sign up sheet to learn more about becoming an NBNC Chervil Ranger!

Spring Beauty and the Bees

Spring Beauty and the Bees is a project that aims to document changing pollinator populations through the efforts of volunteer citizen scientists. By monitoring the insects that visit Claytonia virginica and/or Claytonia caroliniana (also known as Spring Beauty) throughout the east coast, we can determine how pollinator communities change depending on the year, the location, and the season.  This information will help us better understand the biology of native pollinators, as well as help us determine the best way to evaluate their value for native plant reproduction.

NABA Butterfly Count

This annual butterfly count, an on-going, nationwide project of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), is an event in which participants census all the butteflies they can find within a given search area. Members of the public of any experience level are invited to join NBNC staff at this event.

Montpelier BioBlitz

The Montpelier BioBlitz took place on July 11 & 12, 2008 and nearly 200 scientists descended on Montpelier for a 24-hour inventory of all living things. Please visit the BioBlitz website for more information and results.

Montpelier FungiBlitz

On October 2 & 3, 2010 nearly 150 fungal-enthusiasts participated in the first FungiBlitz, a spin-off of our popular 2008 BioBlitz with a focus specifically on fungi and their allies. This event, in addition to getting the public excited about fungi, helped increase our inventory of fungi to nearly 200 species! Please visit the FungiBlitz website for more information and results.

Monarch Tagging

Monarch Watch, a project of the Kansas Biological Survey, University of Kansas, tags Monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico to overwinter. For several years we have been tagging butterflies at the Nature Cener, and last fall, invited the public to join in this effort.

Vermont Atlas of Life

The Vermont Atlas of Life began in late 2012 with the modest goal of documenting every living organism in the Green Mountain State! We do know how many species there are of some of the popular taxonomic groups like birds (currently 382) and mammals (58). But how many invertebrates are there in Vermont? How many plants? Not including protists, bacteria or viruses, we humans share Vermont with at least 26,000 to 45,000 species, although no one knows for sure just how many. Join our growing community of citizen naturalists from around the Green Mountain State in discovering and sharing observations of Vermont life. Your observations can be turned into research-grade, citizen science data that will help us discover, track and ultimately conserve our natural heritage.

Vermont eBird

Vermont eBird is a statewide portal of an international database that collects bird observations from scientists and lay people alike. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. By compiling the collective observations of thousands of people, eBird provides scientists with valuable data to study and birders everywhere with both a listing tool and the power to view the observations of other eBirders around the state.

Vermont Vernal Pool Mapping Project

A project of Vermont Center for Ecostudies, in collaboration with Arrowwood Environmental, the Vermont Vernal Pool Mapping Project is mapping locations of potential vernal pools throughout Vermont, and recruiting a corps of volunteers to field-verify the presence of these potential pools.

Upcoming Programs:

Plainfield Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Join us for the 57th annual Plainfield CBC! We'll spend the day performing a census of our winter birds. The count circle includes parts of Plainfield, Calais, East Montpelier, Marshfield, Montpelier, and Barre. The day concludes with a potluck dinner. Learn more.

North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
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