May 9, 2017

Neighborhood Ecology

Welcome to Urban Arboreta’s Neighborhood Ecology page. Here is a chance for you to learn about your neighborhood through observation while supporting real-time research for science! Urban Arboreta, in partnership with Scistarter, will host on-site educational programs as well as web-based programs that you can activate on your own, with your school or with your community group.

Jump in: get started, and see just how much there is around your neighborhood to learn from!

What is Neighborhood Ecology?

Every ‘place’ has its own ecology. An ‘Ecology’ describes the systems of relationships that create the places in which we live. Cities can contain many different ecological areas within their political boundaries. Urban vacant land has its own, unique, ecological story.

Urban Arboreta is invested in understanding our neighborhood ecologies: the history of the people who have lived in it as well as how the water, plants, and wildlife have been impacted in that place over time. By looking more closely at the inter-workings within, we can begin to understand the deeper complexity of our environments and our own roles in those systems. Citizen Science offers tools for looking more closely while learning about our place in the larger neighborhood ecology.

What is Citizen Science?

Citizen science encourages us to take a stake in our world through inquiry and discovery. It harnesses the power of individuals who are motivated by curiosity, an interest in advancing research, or concerns about a community’s environmental conditions. A citizen scientist is an individual who contributes their time and efforts toward scientific research–either alone or in collaboration with professional scientists. Citizen scientists don’t need to have a formal science background. In fact, citizen scientists come from all walks of life, from on-line gamers, to retirees.

Your participation enables investigations and discoveries that would not otherwise be possible, ones that push new frontiers in our understanding of our world.

Activate: get involved!

Check out these sites: ISeeChange, Stream Selfie, Nature’s Notebook and Cloud Watch. Then sign up for one or for all!

I See Change

iSeeChange empowers communities to observe how weather and climate affect their environment. We strive to connect the public with national media & scientists to understand how climate change is impacting their daily lives.

Read More at Scistarter

Stream Selfie

What’s in YOUR water? We all have the right to know if the streams running through our backyards and neighborhood parks are safe. But there is an alarming lack of up-to-date information about water quality across the country. Stream Selfie is here to bridge that information gap.

Stream Selfie connects you with thousands of other citizen scientists to paint a picture of streams across America. Simply snap a pic of your local stream and share it.

Your photo is step one in our effort to check the health of every stream in the country – far more streams than state and local agencies have the resources to check! Thousands of people are working toward a common goal: clean water. Will you join us?

Read More at Scistarter

Nature’s Notebook

Nature’s Notebook is a national, online program where amateur and professional naturalists regularly record observations of plants and animals to generate long-term data sets used for scientific discovery and decision-making.

Read More at Scistarter

Cloud Watch

Clouds are powerful agents of global change. They affect the overall temperature or energy balance of the Earth and play a large role in controlling the planet’s long-term climate.

To understand the impact of clouds over time, we need accurate data on clouds. NASA has a number of satellites orbiting the Earth and collecting data about clouds and the Earth’s energy.  While these satellites give us a big picture of what’s going on, they sometimes have trouble with the details. 

Now we need your help in collecting data so we can better understand the different types of clouds and the effects they have on our Earth’s climate. Plus we need data from your vantage point- -right here on Earth. Satellites only see the top of the clouds while you see the bottom. By putting these two vantage points together we get a much more complete picture of clouds in the atmosphere.

The data collected, and research opportunities presented by the GLOBE initiative, strengthen publicly funded scientific research on how critical indicators of our Earth’s environment are changing.  Scientists use this data to inform their understanding how the El Nino patterns are changing.

Read More at Scistarter