Session Details

Citizen Science: Measuring and Monitoring Urban Nature

Citizen science involves public participation in scientific research often in ecological context. In this session we will explore both citizen engagement in measuring eco-systems and biodiversity as well as citizen approaches to inventory trees. The integration of citizen science to guide park design and monitor ecosystem health offers a specific approach to engaging community members in hands-on stewardship of the parks.

Participants will hear from park projects in North Carolina that integrate opportunities for citizen science in their design. Methods will be shared for how citizens can build their own monitoring devices and access simple online tools for measuring temparature, air quality, tree canopy cover, and pollinator visits.

Participants will also learn about Philadelphia Parks and Recreation's Park Tree Inventory Program, which engages a place-based volunteer network to inventory the trees and landscape neighborhood parks. Volunteers in this program use a simple web form to record the size, genus, and mortality of each tree, take a picture and locate the tree on a map. This information is used by arborists to proactively maintain trees and to develop a park tree action plan.


  • Learn how to integrate citizen science with park design.
  • Learn tools that citizen scientists can use to measure the ecological benefits of their park landscape.
  • Discover new ways to engage residents in tree care and maintenance.