Return to


Sign up and stay in-the-know about The Crowd & The Cloud and the world of citizen science.
* indicates required

#CrowdCloudLIVE After each episode's WORLD premiere in April, show host, producer, and people seen on the show participated in post-premiere roundtable discussions. Viewers like you listened in, asked questions, and were able to dive deeper into the power of Citizen Science.

Watch the recorded Facebook Live events now. Discover more about how Citizen Science is revolutionizing the ways we gather, analyze, and utilize the data that fuels scientific research, discovery, and community action.

Find your local station and showtimes here, or go to:


Citsci Calendar


"That Was The Year In Citizen Science, That Was!"

The Crowd & The Cloud debuted on PBS stations across America in 2017, and this calendar reflects projects and events during that year. But many of them repeat each and every year, such as the Christmas Bird Count or Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Please use this as a timeless menu, and select what interests you, using the links to see what 2018 and onwards might offer. And for the latest, link to SciStarter via our Join a Project page.



Vivid cave paintings of nature and ancient lifestyles show our early ancestors paid careful attention to the world around them.

384 - 322 BC

Science and “natural philosophy” were one and the same in Aristotle’s time. He was a “gentleman amateur”, fascinated by weather, animals and just about everything in his environment.

8th Century

Courtiers in Japan record observations of when cherry trees blossom. Those historic records are now used in 21st Century scientific publications, demonstrating altered springtime phenology due to climate change.


The Domesday Book is created through “crowdsourced” local knowledge on wildlife in lands surveyed across England. Although originally intended for tax purposes, the information becomes an important database of natural observations.

14th Century

French vintners carefully record temperature and humidity. Their data generated is used in 21st Century publications demonstrating the climate influences of North Atlantic Oscillations.


Amateur observers around the globe are commissioned by The Royal Society of London, along with Navy Captain James Cook, to view the Transit of Venus across the Sun. From details on the timing of the Transit from different places on Earth, scientists are able to calculate the size of our Solar System.

1776 - 1816

Thomas Jefferson records the weather over a period of more than 40 years, providing an unbroken catalogue of observations. He is considered one of the “Founding Fathers of Citizen Science” in North America, along with another weather geek, Ben Franklin.


Utilizing citizen-generated newspaper reports, Denison Olmsted of Yale crowdsources meteor observations.


Volunteers in the “Great Tide Experiment” record tide levels every 15 minutes for two weeks! Coordinated by Cambridge polymath, William Whewell, participants on both sides of the Atlantic and all around the world monitor over 650 tidal stations. Whewell wins a Royal Medal for his research based on the data gathered by the experiment.


Naval officer, Matthew Maury, later known as the “Father of Oceanography”, crowdsources wind and current information. By speaking to sailors from multiple nations, he creates charts that make sailing safer and faster for all.


The “Lighthouse Keeper Survey” is begun by the newly formed American Ornithologist’s Union. However, the keepers use colloquial rather than scientific names for the birds they observe, making their data largely unusable to the scientific community.

1890 - Now

U.S. Congress establishes The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) which sets up stations around America for volunteers to contribute observations. This citizen sourced data forms the basis of the National Climatic Data Center.

1900 - Now

The annual Christmas Bird Count is founded by dedicated birder Frank Chapman, and continues today through The Audubon Society. Every year around Christmas volunteers follow set protocols for counting birds in a specified “circle.” The CBC is one of the longest running citizen science programs in the United States, and now extends internationally to other countries


Ship lieutenants give researcher George H. Lowery Jr., observations from their ocean voyages. He uses these data in a ground-breaking study on trans-Gulf bird migration.


The Insect Migration Association is founded by zoologists Nora and Fred Urquhart, which evolves into today’s Monarch Watch. Volunteer naturalists and butterfly lovers capture, tag, and release monarchs, contributing to a dataset that’s invaluable to researchers.


In an effort to count migrating birds, George H. Lowery Jr. organizes astronomers to provide their observations of traveling birds as they pass in front of the moon.


Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” is published, sparking the beginning of the U.S. Environmental Movement. Two citizen science projects, The Breeding Bird Survey (which continues to this day) and Nest Record Cards (which later becomes NestWatch), begin in 1966/67.


On the heels of “Silent Spring,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is legislated into existence.


A lone, tagged monarch butterfly (see 1950 entry) is spotted in the mountains of Mexico, delivering the first solid evidence of the North American migration.


The Ontario Bird Feeder Program begins, which develops into today’s “Project Feederwatch.”


The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project is founded, dedicated to the conservation of milkweed plants-essential butterfly habitat-and monarch populations.


Following the dawn of the Internet, the first web-based citizen science project, “Community Internet Intensity Map” initiated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is born. This project later becomes “Did You Feel It?”, which continues today.


Alan Irwin, a University of London Professor, coins the term “Citizen Science” to describe the contributions of everyday people doing environmental monitoring as complementary to scientific research.


The term “Citizen Science” is coined by Professor Alan Irwin, of the University of London. It’s meant to describe the contributions of everyday people doing environmental monitoring complementary to scientific research.


In that same year, Rick Bonney, of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, starts using the same term. Multiple citizen science projects are initiated by the CLO to involve birders and nature enthusiasts in scientific research.


The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is founded to monitor dead seabirds in an effort to measure marine ecosystem health (see Episode 4, Related Projects).


The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) establishes its SETI@Home project with the aim of discovering life outside in our solar system and beyond. It’s the first distributed computing volunteer network, recruiting over 1.5 million users as of January 2015.


Neighborhood Nestwatch is initiated by the Smithsonian.


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology initiates the eBird website, encouraging professional birders and amateur citizen scientists alike, to record their observations of birds in the field (see Episode 4 Related Projects and web video).


The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BIONC) deploys its volunteer and grid computing endeavor, creating a platform for distributed applications like SETI@Home (see Episode 3 Related Projects).


“Celebrate Urban Birds” is born, with the goal of reaching diverse urban audiences and involving them in scientific discoveries.


First cross-disciplinary meeting of citizen project leaders took place at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (funded by the NSF), resulting in a Toolkit for project design and leading to the idea for a Citizen Science Association.


When oaks began dying mysteriously in the United States, the NSF-NIH-USDA Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program implored residents in the San Francisco Bay area to report outbreaks of disease. The data collected by volunteers contributed to a predictive model which led to new findings about Sudden Oak Death.


The online puzzle-game FoldIt is released, inviting the public to devise innovative solutions to protein folding possibilities for medical research.


iNaturalist is released for birders, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts to record their observations online.


The Bellybutton Biodiversity Project pops up, revealing data about the diverse world of bacteria in human bellybuttons.

2010 - 2011

“SciStarter”, a massive, and expanding database of citizen science projects, evolves out of “Science For Citizens”. The project finder application functions to connect a growing number of volunteers with personalized project options based on preferences like location or age group.


A series of projects called “Your Wild Life” is initiated which later transforms into “Students Discover”, lesson plans for students from K-12.


Portland, Oregon, hosts the first conference on “Public Participation in Scientific Research,” establishing a professional network for practitioners and academics now known as the U.S. Citizen Science Association.


Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science is established.


The Executive Branch of government enacts The Second National Action Plan, leading to the Open Innovation Toolkit, and encouraging Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing programs.


The Obama Administration enacts its Second National Action Plan, leading to the “Open Innovation Toolkit,” which encourages local, regional, and national Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing programs.


The European and Australian Citizen Science Associations are established.


The European (ECSA) and Australian Citizen Science Associations (ACSA) are established.


The White House hosts an event to celebrate Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing, and unveils the new Federal Toolkit.


The White House hosts an event to celebrate Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing, unveiling its new, user-friendly application the Federal Toolkit. President Obama’s Science Advisor, and the heads of NSF, NOAA and AAAS, address citizen scientists from across the nation.


The bipartisan “Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015” is introduced by Senator Coons (D-DE) and Steve Daines (R-MT).


The White House launches, with resources for federal employees including the Federal Catalog.


The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issues a Memorandum on Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing, and the NSF establishes a priority area for Public Participation in Scientific Research.


The White House launches for federal employees. It’s an innovative and inclusive website with resources like the Federal Catalogue created in 2015, designed to empower users.


The Citizen Science Association (CSA) launches the first issue of its journal, “Citizen Science: Theory & Practice”.


SciStarter 2.0 debuts with a new and improved project finder, encompassing some 1,600 citizen science projects.


THE CROWD & THE CLOUD premieres on public television!