Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays to Citizen Scientists Everywhere!

The Holiday season has almost drawn to a close.  For the past few weeks friends and family have discussed the Peace, Love and Joy of the season.  But I want to talk about one more thing...the joy of giving citizen science.

Unlike other gifts citizen science is not just enjoyed on Christmas or Hanukkah.  It is a gift of lifetime exploration and the wonder of nature.  It also helps everyone else...helping researchers learn more and advancing the technology crucial for making the world a better place.  Each post of mine tries to big that same gift to you, and  my holiday gift guide hopefully helped you give it to others.  But I was also fortunate to receive a couple gifts myself this year and wanted to share them with you.

First up is a homemade gift put together by my mother-in law.  "Citizen Scientist Dave's Chemistry Lab" is a collection of pre-packaged  experiments demonstrating important scientific concepts.  It includes projects in splitting water through electrolysis, creating plastic, acid-base reactions, and the famed Diet Coke - Mentos experiment.  Everything I'll need is in each container, including raw materials, instructions, and measuring supplies.  Interestingly, the packaging is reminiscent of the main kits I've received from other citizen science projects so she must have been on to something (or she's secretly been enjoying those projects herself!)  I'm still unpacking and cleaning from the holidays but will report back soon on the fun I've had with each project.

Second up is a gift from my sister-in-law, a digital camera binocular for viewing, and capturing wildlife at a distance.  At 10x25 magnification it should provide a nice field of view and good magnification; perfect for the backyard or an afternoon hike through the woods.    But better than just seeing birds, you can take pictures of what's in the viewfinder and download for future viewing.  So I hope to add these pictures to future blog posts about nature, or to future sightings in Nature's Notebook, the Great Backyard Bird Count, or other citizen science projects.

Coming up is 2013 and a whole new year of citizen science.  I look forward to playing with these new gifts and discovering many projects to discuss with you.  Things are changing rapidly and I'm excited to have you on board with me.


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