Community/Citizen Science and Volunteer Training

Turn your interests into action and become a citizen scientist!

Are you interested in the natural world around us?

Do you want to take direct action to help your community and local environment?

You do not need to be a professional or have any experience to help with research. People of all ages can participate in community and citizen science (CCS)! This research offers an important opportunity for interested individuals and groups to collect vastly more ecological data than what can be accomplished by professional researchers alone. It also provides a greater knowledge and awareness of local ecosystems, and a better basis for discussing important issues relating to the environment.

  • By participating in CCS, you are directly helping to take care of your local environment.
  • Assessing local streams is one important way to keep local environments healthy.

Because MBI specializes in aquatic ecology and bioassessment, we are uniquely positioned to provide the training needed to perform stream monitoring.

MBI Data Hub

The data you collect is important!

So what will be done with the data you collect? MBI is in the process of developing the MBI Data Hub, an inter-active tool that will allow individuals to contribute their own data on local stream and wetland health and to access historical data. This data can then be utilized by individuals and organizations alike, thus providing a basis for better decisions and rulemaking. Check back soon for updates on this, and how you can contribute

CCS: Community/Citizen Science Training Courses Offered by MBI

  • Stream Monitoring Using Aquatic Insects

    This course is ideal for anyone from beginners to those interested in expanding their skills.

    1 Day Course
    No Course Scheduled
  • Introduction to Wetlands

    Introduction to Wetlands is designed for those who want to learn to identify wetlands, about the varying types of wetlands and the values they provide, but do not necessarily have the need to collect the large amounts of specific data necessary to establish and support the exact wetland boundaries needed in wetland permitting processes.

    1 Day Course
    No Course Scheduled
  • Community Stream Habitat Assessment

    Also known as the cQHEI, this course is ideal for anyone interested in learning the basics in assessing the habitat quality of our local streams.

    1 Day Course
    No Course Scheduled

Looking for ways to volunteer?

Several organizations conduct stream monitoring programs in Ohio and across the nation. Local chapters of these organizations may offer volunteer opportunities—please see our list of Ohio Watershed Groups. Each organization has its own methods for monitoring streams, and all use aquatic insects (macroinvertebrates) as key indicators of stream quality.

The national Izaak Walton League of America has an up-to-date collection of Stream Monitoring Resources including the Clean Water Hub Database, free Salt Watch kits, water chemistry testing materials, and a Creek Critters app to assist in macroinvertebrate identification. National IWLA sends out trainers every year to different regions. Be notified of the next workshop in your area or find your local chapter to get involved!

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) coordinates the Stream Quality Monitoring Program (SQM), which monitors rivers and streams in the Ohio Scenic Rivers program. They also have a collection of resources for Aquatic Education.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) participates in Stream Quality Monitoring and has ongoing volunteer opportunities right here in Columbus, OH! Their website offers a rich array of resources and educational opportunities including a coloring book of aquatic insects, a citizen science project on iNaturalist, and they even have their own Wiki of detailed info on the watershed!