Citizen Science

Get Involved!

How can you have fun while simultaneously contributing to science? By joining the global citizen science movement. The Nat, independent naturalists, and outside organizations have created numerous citizen science projects aimed at helping scientists better understand the species that exists in any given region at any given time. Take part in the projects below to contribute to the exploration and creation of scientific knowledge. At the Nat, everyone is welcome to join in on the fun.

This page is currently being updated. Check back in January 2019 for more information on the upcoming Border BioBlitz, March 2-3, 2019 and City Nature Challenge 2019: San Diego County, April 26-29, 2019.

Shot Hole Borer Citizen Science Project | August–October, 2018

Help combat invasive species
They may be small, but shot hole borer beetles are doing big damage in San Diego. These pests threaten our fragile river woodlands by infesting willows and sycamores, leaving dead, broken trunks in their wake.

To help combat the damage being done by this invasive species, the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) and the San Diego River Park Foundation are teaming up to monitor the beetle’s presence in the San Diego River Watershed—and we need your help!

How you can help
We’re actively recruiting citizen scientists to help us set-up, check, and retrieve insect traps. Training will be provided—the only experience needed is comfort exploring the great outdoors, no formal background in science necessary. Three-day commitment required:

  • Saturday, August 25, 9 AM–2 PM: Training and trap deployment
  • Saturday, September 22: Mid-point tap check
  • Saturday, October 20: Collect traps, transport to The Nat, and analyze what you’ve found under a microscope

Registration for this project has closed. Check this page for updates on this and similar projects.

Please review our FAQs. Together we can make a difference!



Add Your Observations to The Nat’s Research Database

Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California |
Ongoing Project

Help us better understand the diversity of amphibians and reptiles in Southern California and Baja California. Contirubte to The Nat's Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California.

To participate, all you need to do is take photos of wild lizards, snakes, frogs, and any other reptiles or amphibians you spot in Southern California and Baja California. Upload them to iNaturalist using the app or a computer. You can suggest an identification, or the iNaturalist community will identify the animal you submit. Your observations help our scientists better understand our region’s reptiles and amphibians. More.

San Diego County Plant Atlas |
Ongoing Project

San Diego County, with natural environments ranging from coast, up through foothills and mountains, and down to the desert, is a hotbed of plant diversity. The San Diego County Plant Atlas project is an intensive effort to document where the many plants of our region are found. This project began in 2003 and continues to this day.

To participate, take photos of wild plants you come across in San Diego County. Use the app or a computer to upload them to iNaturalist. Suggest an identification or have the iNaturalist community identify what you saw. Your observations help our scientists better understand our region’s plant communities. More.

Snapshot Cal Coast | June 13–20, 2018

This project has ended for 2018. See results here. Continue to check this page for future updates on how to take part in the 2019 Snapshot Cal Coast.

The Nat is taking part in Snapshot Cal Coast, a statewide effort to document plants and animals found along the California coast. Participating is easy—all you need to do is head to the coast June 13-20, take photos of plants and animals you encounter, and upload them to the iNaturalist app or website. No need to stick to the beach and tide pools, any coastal area in California is fair game.

The Museum’s Canyoneers will be leading a free hike at Sunset Cliffs National Park on Wednesday, June 20 at 8 AM. Please feel free to join this hike to learn more about iNaturalist and our coastal flora and fauna. New to iNaturalist? Not to worry, Museum staff will be on hand at this hike to help get you started. More.