Boy on nature hike, pictured with turtle

Citizen Science

Be a scientist in your community!

Join people from across the region—virtually—as we do science around Southern California! Help us count kelp, spot squirrels, or document animals and plants in your area. All you need is a camera, an internet connection, and a desire for data.

The California Science Center currently has two citizen science projects in progress, and we are also encouraging involvement in the Natural History Museum's Squirrel Survey. See below for more details.

California Science Center Kelp Forest Census

Kelp fronds
Claire Fackler, CINMS, NOAA

Attention, beach lovers and divers! The extremely warm water temperatures in the summer of 2014 decimated kelp forests along the California coasts, and we are hoping to document a comeback. Help us record the occurrence of giant kelp along the coast of California from Point Conception to the Mexican border, including all of the Channel Islands. We are looking for images of live kelp attached to the reef, images of kelp that has broken loose from the bottom and is drifting freely, and images of kelp that has washed up on the beach. All images must have been taken after November 1, 2014, and would preferably have coordinates associated with them. Visit the project page on iNaturalist to join in.

California Science Center LA Zone Flora and Fauna

Snail on a sidewalk

So what plant and animal wildlife are you encountering in the greater Los Angeles region? Photograph and post images of plants and animals you see in the greater Los Angeles area. We are especially looking for sightings within the portion of L.A. included  on the large map in the L.A. Zone in our Ecosystems exhibit. The L.A. Zone gallery describes the way Los Angeles, or any urban environment, operates under the same rules and processes of ecological science as any "natural" ecosystem. This includes the occurrence of forms of wildlife, some naturally occurring, some introduced, in urban environments. Visit our project page at iNaturalist to get started.

Southern California Squirrel Survey

Squirrel in tree
Chuck Kopczak, PhD

Help support the Natural History Museum's efforts to find out how different species of squirrels are distributed across Southern California. They are specifically tracking the numbers of eastern fox squirrels (a non-native species), western gray squirrels and the California ground squirrel. Visit the Natural History Museum's project page on iNaturalist to find out more.