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Audubon Society of Rhode Island Citizen Science Opportunities Environment Getting Involved

Citizen Science

Citizen science is a fun way to get outside and learn about the wildlife and natural spaces near you.  The Audubon Society of Rhode Island offers many opportunities to get involved in the scientific work that helps fuel our mission. Through collaboration with our staff, citizen scientists can help collect valuable data in the field, compile the collected data, or manage a project.

Explore the citizen science opportunities happening around Rhode Island:

Water Quality Monitoring at the Providence Stormwater Innovation Center
The Providence Stormwater Innovation Center is dedicated to improving urban water quality and associated wildlife habitat through the use of innovative green stormwater practices. The Center is located within Roger Williams Park, where a wide range of green infrastructure has been implemented to reduce stormwater contaminants from entering the ponds and degrading water quality. The Center will be using these structures and practices as a hands-on training facility for municipalities, engineers, construction companies, and scientists who will learn from the successes and failures of the design, implementation, and maintenance of these structures in Roger Williams Park. In order to measure the impacts of stormwater treatment, a water quality monitoring program is being established. We are partnering with URI’s Watershed Watch volunteer monitoring program to perform some of the data collection. No prior experience is necessary, just an interest in learning about water quality sampling and monitoring in your community. Contact Ryan Kopp at to learn more!

Osprey Monitoring
This is a statewide monitoring program where over 100 volunteer citizen scientists learn about Osprey, how to identify them and then put their knowledge to use as they observe the nest and record the Osprey’s breeding success via an online form. Audubon provides the training and the data collection is self-scheduled from April - August. The data captured each year is shared with scientists, the general public and government agencies throughout the United States. In fact, Audubon’s program was found to be one of the longest running and best for capturing data! Follow this link for more information:

Osprey Nest Assessments
This project is linked to the Osprey Monitoring project. During the Fall and Winter, citizen scientists locate Osprey nests and report back on the type of nest site, the condition and location of each nest. They also photograph each nest. Contact Jon Scoones at for more information.

Butterfly Count
This project relies on over 40 citizen scientists to observe and record butterfly species at predetermined locations across Rhode Island.  Audubon’s annual program feeds data into the North American Butterfly Association’s citizen science data from observations made across the country! To learn more about this citizen science project follow this link:

Bluebird Box Monitoring
Another annual Audubon project, citizen scientists monitor the bluebird boxes in assigned locations across the state. Citizen scientists observe the boxes on a regular basis throughout the summer and relay their observations back to Audubon. The data that is compiled is then shared with scientists, universities and birding enthusiasts. Contact Kim Calcagno for more information at

Rhode Island Bird Atlas 2.0
Although not administered by Audubon, this 28 year-old project is supported by 60+ volunteers who observe birds across the state, providing over 9,000 records of breeding behavior. To learn more about this citizen science project follow this link:

Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative
Audubon is a partner to this initiative which is conducting a 5-year study of the Saltmarsh Sparrow in Warren, RI salt marshes (adjacent to Audubon’s Claire D. McIntosh Wildlife Refuge). Project Directors lead a team of Citizen Scientists in executing studies of the Saltmarsh Sparrow, considered by some as “the canary of the salt marsh” due to its vulnerability to rising sea levels. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at, or email