There are numerous opportunities for you to participate in collecting data and making observations of your environment that will allow you to gain a better understanding of the importance of your observations. Furthermore, the data you report goes to help science organizations improve their models and predictive capabilities. In addition, most are fun activities and a good way to get kids involved in nature.
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) - CoCoRaHS (pronounced KO-ko-rozz) is a grassroots volunteer network of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow) in their local communities. If you like to track how much rain we get, this is a great project for you. You will need to buy a special rain gauge that all members use (not an electronic one) and report your data daily (preferable but not required) online. There are currently about 15 reporting stations in Washington County.
Texas Nature Trackers - Join Texas Nature Trackers Projects on iNaturalist using an app on your Apple or Android smartphone. Whether you stay in your backyard, or travel the state in search of wild plants and animals, these projects are a great way to document your observations and learn more about them. TNT projects are curated by experts, and the data is used to prioritize our research and conservation efforts throughout the state.
Cornell NestWatch Program - Participants in this program monitor bird nests and report data to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You will record information about nest site location, habitat, species, and number of eggs, young, and fledglings. This project is sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the National Science Foundation. Most participants in our area use this project to monitor and record bluebird nestbox data which can be used for documentation of one of your Wildlife Appraisal activities for agriculture property taxes.
Cornell Project FeederWatch - Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.
Anyone interested in birds can participate. FeederWatch is conducted by people of all skill levels and backgrounds, including children, families, individuals, classrooms, retired persons, youth groups, nature centers, and bird clubs. You can count birds as often as every week, or as infrequently as you like: the schedule is completely flexible. All you need is a bird feeder, bird bath, or plantings that attract birds. There is an $18 annual participation fee for U.S. residents ($15 for Cornell Lab members).
Globe at Night - The objective of this international program is to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone.
Texas Stream Team - Texas Stream Team at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment is dedicated to understanding and protecting the 191,000 miles of Texas waterways. TST brings together community members, students, educators, academic researchers, environmental professionals, and both public and private sector partners to conduct scientific research and to promote environmental stewardship. This project is under Texas State University.
Green Ash Seed Collection - Extensive mortality among the Green Ash trees across the United States is the result of the Emerald Ash Borer. Groups across the state are working with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to collect Green Ash seed. The process of collecting and transmitting seed from the Green Ash is covered in Green Ash Seed Collection Procedure. For additional information about this project, contact Minnette Marr at the LBJ Wildflower Center.