Citizen Science

Citizen science is a term that describes the work done by individual volunteers or groups of volunteers, many of whom have no specific scientific training, to enhance or augment the efforts of scientists and other professionals engaged in scientific research.  For Palouse Audubon Society, this includes conservation and other wildlife and habitat related activities, some of which are more action oriented and less “scientific” than others.

We consider many of our Chapter Projects to fit the definition of citizen science.  It also extends to the efforts individuals make to provide, conserve, and restore wildlife resources and habitat.  We encourage you to get involved with our group activities or on your own, and make a difference for wildlife.  See National Audubon’s Society “Audubon at Home” for more information and ideas.

Some local citizen science efforts that you can become involved in include:

shrub_steppe Eastern Washington Shrub-Steppe Programs:

Audubon Washington and local Audubon chapters are working with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to monitor Eastern Washington shrub-steppe bird populations. Two citizen volunteer efforts have been identified.  Data collection on sharp-tailed grouse takes place in Lincoln County.  See Volunteers Needed to Monitor Eastern Washington Sage-Grouse Lek for more information.

A second effort is planned to begin in the spring of 2014 to survey sagebrush shrub-steppe obligate song bird populations.  Volunteers will be needed to walk in the shrub-steppe to perform the survey.  The areas that Palouse Audubon will cover include the Chief Joseph and Asotin Creek Wildlife Areas.  This involves several field trips in the April through June timeframe.  If you are interested in participating in the survey, please contact us.

For more information about shrub-steppe ecology see:


Important Bird Areas:

One of the National Audubon Society’s major efforts involves Important Bird Areas (IBAs), to “identify and conserve areas that are vital to birds and other biodiversity”.  This entails working with various groups including Audubon chapters, landowners, and public agencies to ensure the proper management and conservation of these areas.

For many years, members of Palouse Audubon monitored birds at Mann Lake, our local IBA in Idaho.  Volunteers are always welcome to continue this work.  It involves identifying and counting birds seen at the lake, then entering that data into eBird.  If you are interested, please contact us.


If you live near or visit any IBA, citizen-scientists are needed to help monitor and restore these important habitats.  See National Audubon’s Important Bird Areas

Listings of IBAs on the Idaho Birding Trail and IBAs in Washington State by region are available by visiting their websites.


Photo Credits to Anonymous