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Community Science

Community 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 and other volunteers, community scientists can help collect valuable data in the field, compile the collected data, or manage a project.

Interested? Use the links below to sign up for upcoming training sessions, or contact the program leader directly using the provided information. You may also fill out our volunteer form to get connected if there are currently no trainings scheduled.

Avian Research Initiative

Implemented in 2022, this three-step management plan aims to mitigate local decline and contribute to regional population growth of bird populations. To learn more about this project, please visit: or contact Dr. Charles Clarkson at

Participants Needed for Current Projects:

  • Responsibility Bird Monitoring – Join our dedicated group of data collection volunteers who support the Audubon Avian Research Initiative. Your help with data collection is instrumental to our ability to better understand how our birds are faring and draft effective management plans for their conservation.
  • Bird Window Collision Reporting – To participate in this project, all you need to do is document and report each window strike you observe, either at your home, place of work or during your daily activities. In addition to documenting bird mortality at your home and place of work, we are interested in understanding how many birds fall victim to building collisions in the city of Providence. LEARN MORE

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 Ethan Paiva for more information at

Butterfly Monitoring

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is looking for volunteers interested in being a part of a community-science based project this Summer. The project involves monitoring Monarch butterflies and other butterfly species on coastal Audubon properties from May through July. Monarch Butterfly populations are declining due to pesticides, habitat-loss and climate change. These beautiful butterflies migrate from Rhode Island to their over wintering sites in Mexico and return in the Summer. During this period of migration, they will forage from flowers along the coast before making the long journey. Collecting data on Monarch butterflies will help Audubon with their conservation efforts.

Volunteers will monitor sites once a week by counting all butterfly species seen along a specific route. Volunteers will also be collecting weather data such as, temperature, wind speed and cloud cover. Monitoring will take approximately an hour. You do not need any experience identifying butterfly species. TerraCorps Land Conservation Coordinator, Nathan Archer will assign a specific refuge for volunteers to monitor based on proximity, capability, and interest.

If you are interested in being a part of this important project please email Nathan Archer at

Upcoming Training Sessions
We ask that you attend one virtual and one in-person training session.

VIRTUAL: April 18th or 23rd from 7 PM to 9 PM via Zoom
IN-PERSON: April 27th or May 3rd from 10 am - 12 pm at the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium in Bristol
Sign Up Here

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! For more information, please visit or contact Lincoln Dark at

Vernal Pool Monitoring

Have you ever wondered about those pools of water that show up in spring? Have you noticed frogs and egg masses in them? These are vernal pools, home to frogs, salamanders, and even turtles. These pools of water are incredibly important for the amphibians and reptiles who use them as breeding grounds. Audubon is looking for two groups of volunteers interested in being a part of a community-science-based project in Spring 2024. One group will go out to map vernal pools scattered over Audubon wildlife refuges, and the other will go out to get a herp count of what’s in or surrounding the wetland. This is a great way to get out and explore parts of the wildlife refuges you've never seen before, as well as gain experience with mapping and identifying reptile and amphibian species. Both groups will be walking through thick brush and may be dealing with biting insects. For more information, please contact Nathan Archer at or Ethan Paiva


Water Quality Monitoring at the Stormwater Innovation Center

The Stormwater Innovation Center (SIC) 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. We partner with URI’s Watershed Watch volunteer monitoring program to collect data water quality data in the park, including the impacts of stormwater treatment. No prior experience is necessary, just an interest in learning about water quality sampling and monitoring in your community.

To get involved, fill out a new volunteer form (specifying in the form that you wish to monitor at RWP), and get in touch with SIC Education & Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Reeves at to learn more! 


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