Typically I write about organizations…but in honor of Geography Awareness Week(November 13-19, 2001) and the third annual Blog-A-Thon hosted by the National Geographic Society, I am posting something a little different today. The theme for this year’s Geography Awareness Week is “Geography: The Adventure in Your Community” – the connections between people and their surrounding environments, local action, and, of course, geography education. Today’s post is about something that helps people around the globe connect with nature and the environment.
Project Noah (which stands for networked organisms and habitats) is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere. The project began in early 2010 as an experiment to see if the team could build a fun, location-based mobile application to encourage people to reconnect with nature and document local wildlife. They wanted to take advantage of the power and popularity of smart phones to collect important ecological data and help preserve global biodiversity.
In February 2010, the team’s first iPhone app was launched. After winning some awards, the team attracted National Geographic as an investor. By encouraging everyone to document their encounters with nature, the Project Noah team hopes to build a powerful force for data collection and an important educational tool for wildlife awareness and preservation. According to National Geographic, “Project Noah harnesses the power of citizen scientists everywhere to discover the world’s organisms.”
You can sign up on their website, projectnoah.org for a free account. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can also download their mobile app for free. Using the app you can manage your spottings and participate in missions. For example, one current mission is “Birds of the World” where you can document your bird encounters by taking photographs and adding descriptive notes. You add as much information as you can about your spotting and upload it to the Project Noah website. Then many dedicated community members help identify your spotting. Other missions include spotting urban biodiversity, bats, spiders, and ladybugs. One interesting mission I found was a local mission to monitor sightings of the Emerald Ash Borer – an invasive beetle from Asia that is killing trees around my local area.
Even if you don’t have a smart phone, you can still participate by uploading photos directly to the Project Noah website.
So, how can you get involved? It’s easy – just sign up for free and start connecting with nature in your own backyard.