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Wanted: Enthusiastic citizen scientists to sample bodies of water in North Carolina. No prior experience necessary!

Wading for Water Sticks is a citizen science project aimed at determining the habitat preferences and distributions of three water stick species in North Carolina.  As a participant, you’ll join a network of North Carolina citizen scientists who sample bodies of water throughout the state to help survey our water sticks, large aquatic insects that live in a variety of habitats, and answer questions about their biology.  Participation in this project is easy!  Simply sample the aquatic habitat(s) in your area using the protocol we provide, examine any water sticks discovered, and make basic observations of the habitats where you found them before placing the bugs back in the stream.  Materials are things you likely have already – tape measures, plastic containers, a watch or timer.  We provide the information you’ll need to get started, a protocol for sampling, and datasheets.  YOU help provide the data!

As a citizen scientist, you’ll gain firsthand knowledge of water sticks and their environments and contribute valuable information to scientists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  We think it’s important to give something back to our citizen scientists, too, so we’ll present our results right here, in plain English, for everyone to see.  That way you can see how your data have contributed to our understanding of these fascinating insects and know that you’ve helped everyone understand our world a little better.

Recent studies have shown that collaborations between scientists and citizen scientists can produce excellent, high quality results, sometimes better results than scientists can manage without help.  So be a part of the scientific process!  Explore the links at the top of the page and get started with Wading for Water Sticks today!