Citizen Science
What is Citizen Science?

Citizen Science engages volunteers in the collection of ecological information.  The NJA Citizen Science program we aim to develop information datasets through citizen participation, on the abundance distribution, and demography of avian species. 

We can use the information collected through the contributions of Citizen Scientists to provide the basis for managing bird populations at multiple spatial and temporal scales, to improve our knowledge of the ecology of New Jersey, and to promote habitat preservation.  Using the citizen science approach enables us to obtain the information we need, while also immersing our citizen scientists into the scientific process. 

New Jersey Audubon's Citizen Science program aims to:

  • foster environmental awareness among New Jersey's citizens through active participation

  • protect New Jersey's birds and other animals, especially endangered and threatened species through collection of data on bird distributions and abundance, population trends, migration patterns

  • promote habitat preservation by improving our knowledge of the ecology of New Jersey through the contributions of Citizen Scientists.



Ordinary people have the opportunity to actively help acquire a great knowledge of the ecology of New Jersey and contribute to the conservation of our valuable natural resources, while involved in activities that they enjoy.  The data collected through citizen science programs can be incorporated into management and conservation plans, and influence local, state and federal policy development. 

Citizen Scientists Needed!

 2014 Arthur Kill Watershed and 
Raritan-Piedmont Bird Surveys

New Jersey Audubon is recruiting volunteer Citizen Scientists for two projects that involve bird and/or invasive plant surveys.  We are looking for people with some bird ID skills to conduct bird point counts, and for people to survey invasive plants species.  Volunteers can participate in either the bird or the invasive plant survey, or both.  We prefer people who can do both surveys concurrently, but if you prefer to do one or the other, you are still welcome to join us!

Citizen Scientists are required to attend one training session in April.  We will run a combined bird and invasive plant workshop that will include a species identification component and methodology training.  During the workshop participants will be assigned to a survey site.  Bird survey citizen scientists are asked to visit their survey site three times – once to scout their assigned points and determine access, and twice for surveys (once between May 26- June 15 and again between June 16-30).  Invasive plant survey citizen scientists are asked to visit their site twice between May 26 and June 30 to conduct surveys.  

Arthur Kill Watershed Survey 2014

New Jersey Audubon is recruiting Citizen Scientists for a survey of birds and invasive plants in natural areas in the Arthur Kill watershed (parts of Essex, Union, and Middlesex Counties). This project is a NJ Audubon effort, funded through National Audubon’s and Toyota’s TogetherGreen program. Through this effort we want to obtain baseline information on abundance and distribution of bird and invasive plant species in important greenways remaining in this heavily industrialized and urbanized watershed. Areas of interest include South Mountain, Ash Brook Reservation, and the main tributaries to the Arthur Kill (the Elizabeth, Rahway, and Woodbridge Rivers), among others.  Results of this study will be used to guide conservation efforts in the area.

Raritan-Piedmont Survey 2014

New Jersey Audubon is recruiting Citizen Scientists for a 2014 bird and invasive plant survey in forested habitats within the Piedmont section of the Raritan River watershed (parts of Hunterdon, Somerset, and Middlesex Counties). This is a joint project between Raritan Valley Community College and NJ Audubon, funded through NSF’s SENCER-ISE (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities-Informal Science Education) program, to study the effects of invasive plants and deer browsing on our forests birds and native flora.


If you would like to participate or receive more information, please contact: Laura Stern at citizen.science@njaudubon.org or
Mike Allen
at michael.allen@njaudubon.org

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Citizen Science Projects 

-- To determine the abundance and distribution of grasslands bird populations breeding in private lands enrolled in incentive programs in New Jersey and assess the effectiveness of these programs.

-- To assess status and changes in populations of shorebirds using the New Jersey coast during spring and fall migration, to better manage and conserve stopover areas.

-- To determine the importance of different foraging areas in the NY/NJ Harbor for herons and egrets. 

Duke Bioblitz

On June 26, 2011, NJ Audubon working with Duke Farms coordinated a bioblitz!

Teams of experts on local flora and fauna gathered on that Sunday, as Duke Farms hosted its second BioBlitz, a one-day treasure hunt to identify and record species of plants and animals found on the property. For more info go to:



We thank the many volunteers who helped out in 2011!

Bird surveys: Greg Cantrell, Karen Carlough, Bernadette Conrad, Mike Dixon, Laurie Gneiding, Bill Margaretta, Toni Margaretta, Tony Masso, Steve Mattan, Dan Morley, Stephen Porter, Dani Porter, George Roussey, Steve Salata, Tom Smith, Margaret Thomas, Susanna Treesh

Pond Macroinvertebrates: Nicole Rahman

Butterflies: Chris and Paula Williams and all the NABA people!

Fungi: Mycological Association


Greg Cantrell's Blog

Greg participates in several of our surveys and keeps a blog about his birding and citizen science experiences

Susan Haviland's web page

Susan is one of our citizen scientists who conducts shorebird surveys at Great Bay Boulevard Wildlife Management Area.  Her website includes photos, film clips, and her blog!

Scott Elowitz Photography

Scott Elowitz's photos manage to capture the essence of the bird.  We frequently use his images in our citizen science trainings.

To participate contact:

Nellie Tsipoura
Director of Citizen Science, NJ Audubon
11 Hardscrabble Road, PO Box 693
Bernardsville, NJ 07924
Phone: (908) 766-5787 X12 -- Fax: (908) 766-7775