Master Naturalist Volunteer Opportunities – Nationwide

Please contact us if you have organizations or opportunities to add to this list!

SciStarter is an incredible resource for citizen science projects of many kinds, on topics ranging from astronomy to geology to botany and beyond. They truly have something for everyone!

Zooniverse is a similar site, with myriad citizen science projects. Want to identify galaxies? Observe orchids? Sign up here!

Nature’s Notebook is a national, online program where amateur and professional naturalists regularly record observations of plants and animals to generate long-term data sets used for scientific discovery and decision-making. Record data from your backyard, a local park, or your favorite wild place!

Project BudBurst is another online phenology project, where a national network of citizen scientists monitor plants as the seasons change.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology also has a wonderful array of citizen science projects for those interested in avian life. Check them out: 

Spring/Summer Projects:

  • Birdhouse Network:  Join and help scientists conserve North American cavity-nesting birds.  All you need is a nest box (birdhouse) and a small amount of time each week during spring and summer to monitor the birds nesting in your boxes.
  • Birds in Forested Landscapes: Help scientists examine the effects of habitat change (e.g. forest fragmentation) on North American birds.  Participants choose study sites in forests of various sizes, then survey for target species by broadcasting.
  • Celebrate Urban Birds! Get to know the birds on your block!  Join thousands of others across the continent in celebrating some of the amazing birds that live with us in cities, towns and the countryside.  You’ll learn about birds and help scientists figure out how they can survive.  This project takes only 10 minutes–it’s fun and easy!  You’ll get all the materials you need to participate for free.
  • Pigeon Watch: Did you know that pigeons come in different colors?  Join Pigeon Watch and help scientists solve the mystery:  “Why are there so many different colors of pigeons?”
  • House Finch Disease Survey: Will house finch eye disease cause an epidemic in the West as it has elsewhere?  We need help from citizen scientists in all regions to find out more about how the disease is affecting house finches across the continent.
  • eBird: A continent-wide, year-round survey of North American birds:  Any Bird, Anywhere, Anytime.  State-of-the-art web technology provides simple and flexible, yet powerful, ability to track and share information with scientists, teachers, amateur naturalists, and other birders.

Fall/Winter Projects

  • Project FeederWatch: Join more than 16,000 other citizen scientists who periodically count the birds that visit their bird feeders from November to April.  Your counts will help scientists track the distribution and abundance of birds in winter.  Anyone can participate in Project FeederWatch.
  • Great Backyard Bird Count: A four-day winter survey of birds.  Anyone can submit observations and see results in real time over the Internet.
  • Bird Sleuth: Students learn inquiry by observing and recording bird counts and interacting with university scientists.  Data are part of a continent-wide effort to learn more about bird population dynamics.