Here’s what’s on tap for Citizen Science Month at UF/IFAS

Posted 4/8/24

Scientists need help from residents, and that is what Citizen Science Month is all about.

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Here’s what’s on tap for Citizen Science Month at UF/IFAS


Scientists need help from residents, and that is what Citizen Science Month is all about.

This national observance, held nationally in April, highlights the importance of how consumers engage in science by partnering with scientists on a variety of projects that help monitor, count, identify and even make new discoveries.

At the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), faculty scientists, Extension agents and students have plenty of projects on their hands that need help from residents and businesses throughout the year. Citizen science projects can take many forms that include participating in community surveys, identifying wildflowers and wildlife through mobile apps, fishing out invasives from local waterways and much more. There are plenty of opportunities for youth and adults to select.

“We value the work of citizen scientists to help us develop better policies and recommendations that make your world and home a better place,” said Kimberly Moore, professor of sustainable horticulture and associate director the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (FLREC). “We encourage citizens to engage and share their experiences with us through citizen science activities to develop better recommendations that improve the lives of residents.”

Not sure where to look for activities? Start with the local UF/IFAS Extension office in your county. Check out their website, call or drop in to see what’s on their calendar of events. Here is a short list of citizen science options.

Calling Florida homeowners and land managers statewide

A team at UF/IFAS FLREC seeks input from homeowners and land managers to help reduce water pollution and promote water conservation. Take the Landscape Water Use Survey to help scientists understand how the average citizen views water and water conservation in the landscape by reporting your irrigation habits in the landscape and how you learn about water conservation. Scientists will use this information to develop online training videos to continue to make improvements in water conservation messaging.

Are you a boater?

You can help UF/IFAS keep Florida’s coastal waters clean with your input.

Florida Sea Grant wants to hear from boaters to gauge their understanding of boating activities and practices. More specifically, they want to know what and where additional sewage disposal resources are needed from boaters while traveling the waterways of the Sunshine State through an online survey. This survey, also available in Spanish, is for anyone who boats in Florida for recreation only, regardless of whether they own or rent a watercraft. The survey is part of a larger needs assessment that aims to determine the recreational boating community’s current level of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding sewage waste management.  To learn more about this citizen science project, .  You can also contact Florida Sea Grant at (352) 562-1134 or by e-mail Victoria Gambale at

Like fishing? Help round up invasive fish.

Florida’s southwest waterways are home to numerous invasive freshwater fish species. They are growing in abundance. Scientists believe they may be causing detrimental changes to the native fish communities. Help reduce these nonnative invasive fish numbers at the 2024 Southwest Florida Invasive Fish Roundup, April 25-28, hosted by the Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs). This event is held to raise public awareness about the potential negative impacts of releasing invasive fish into Florida waters, and to encourage anglers to target these invasive species. The roundup will also gather data about invasive fish distribution and abundance that can assist with future management. Prizes will be awarded. For more information and to register, visit .

Help keep shorelines healthy and restoring those in need.

Shoreline monitoring and habitat restoration need the eyes and attention of citizen scientists. Vincent Encomio, Florida Sea Grant Extension agent for Martin and St. Lucie counties, leads a shoreline monitoring and habitat restoration project in southeast Florida. He is working with University of Central Florida on a Florida Sea Grant-funded project to collect shoreline data. The data is being used to develop computer models for planning living shoreline restoration projects.

The program has volunteer workdays for adults and youth. He typically works with youth through 4-H, summer camps, and schools. He also works on community-based shoreline restoration projects with adults and youth volunteers, ranging from oyster to shoreline vegetation plantings. Shoreline monitoring and restoration activities are occasional and typically project dependent. For more information, email

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