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#CitSciStories 2: from worms to planetary disks to a leader aquarium volunteer

Welcome to the second of our #CitSciStories! Thank you very much to Katie Lowe, @ForStargazers on Twitter, for sending us this wonderful story:

I've liked science since I was little — astronomy especially, but I certainly played with my fair share of worms! Doing science was almost inaccessible, though. I grew up in an area where most people didn’t know much about it. With every trip to the zoo or aquarium or nature center, to say nothing of looking up at a clear summer night sky, I had more questions...

Citizen science allows me to help working scientists answer some of those questions. I consider citizen science to include anything from education to data entry to environmental restoration. I was an education volunteer at the Maryland Zoo for several years, doing outreach education and public programming and interpretation. I found the Zooniverse platform and started working on projects there about a year ago, including Disk Detective (looking for planetary debris disks) and Floating Forests (tracking kelp forests).

I am also an Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) leader volunteer for the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. ACT! is great because I have so many options for activities: restoring wetland shorelines, debris cleanups, inventorying biohuts, and BioBlitz. At each of these events, I get to work with an amazing team of ACT! volunteers, Aquarium staff, and community volunteers. One of my favorite events is BioBlitz!

BioBlitz is in its fourth year at Masonville Cove, a site in Baltimore City which used to be a literal dump and now is home to bald eagles, snapping turtles, osprey, deer, and all kinds of plants and insects. Every year, the Aquarium and partner organizations invite the community to come to Masonville and help observe the organisms living there. This year we had over 300 observations of more than 150 species!

National Aquarium in Baltimore
Zooniverse: Disk Detective; Floating Forests

Would you like to write the third of our #CitSciStories? Here's how to do it. We'd love to hear from you.