Community Science Projects in Washington

Community scientists (like you!) help provide important information about wildlife populations and trends

Community science programs can be suitable for people of all ages, and are a great challenge for young learners. By teaching kids powerful skills like observation, identification, data entry, and more, community science programs can help connect classroom learning with real-world application of knowledge. And, they give kids (and adults) an opportunity to contribute meaningful information to scientists throughout the state.

Community science can be done in places as close as your backyard or balcony! Topics range from identifying and tracking bumblebees to staring at the night sky.

The following list includes community science projects organized by conservation organizations around the state. Visit the organization’s website to learn more.

Conservation Northwest

Conservation Northwest monitors wildlife throughout the state. Their Community Wildlife Monitoring Project has volunteers maintain dozens of wildlife cameras and conduct winter snow tracking on the I-90 corridor.

Forest Health Watch

As part of the Washington State University Puyallup extension, Forest Watch offers two community science programs: The Western red cedar dieback program and iNaturalist forest health projects. The data from these programs help inform researchers about the health of urban and rural forests.

Globe at Night

This program helps raise public awareness about impacts of light pollution. Measure and submit your night sky brightness observations!

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

Located between Olympia and Dupont, The Nisqually Reach Nature Center Offers community science programs that monitor spawning forage fish, survey pigeon guillemots and go into the aquatic reserve.

Pacific Northwest Bumblebee Atlas

Community scientists choose one grid in Washington to monitor. They learn how to identify bees in their grid and submit their data so state and federal biologists can have a better understanding of Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee populations.

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Based in Tacoma, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium offers community science programs in urban carnivore identification, spotting swallows, and exploring the shore.

Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC)

Located on the Olympic Peninsula, the PTMSC offers a variety of community science opportunities ranging from tracking dead seabirds to sampling mussels.

Re Sources

Based out of Bellingham, Re Sources offers community science programs for people living in the North Sound. Projects include forage fish monitoring, plastics monitoring, sea star monitoring, and more.

The River Mile

The River Mile is a program from the National Park Service at Lake Roosevelt. Their community science programs include water quality monitoring, a crayfish study, and plant and animal inventories.

Washington Audubon

Washington Audubon has chapters throughout the state and a variety of community science programs for your family to participate in. Popular programs include Hummingbirds @ Home, Yard Map, Nest Watch, and more.

Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper

This community science project helps scientists understand monarch butterflies and their host plant better across the Western United States. Community scientists upload photos of monarch and milkweeds and learn to identify the different species of milkweed.

Woodland Park Zoo

Located in Seattle, Woodland Park Zoo offers a variety of different community science programs for the greater Seattle Metro area. Projects include amphibian monitoring, otter spotting, and more.

Please note this is not an exhaustive list and there may be other community science projects taking place in Washington that are not listed here.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.