Youth Development

Citizen Science, Science Identity, and Civic Engagement

Pathways to Science Through Nature is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 4-H programs in NY, FL, IL, and CA, and the National Girls Collaborative Project to build support for citizen science in after school contexts, with support from the Noyce Foundation and Smith-Lever.


California 4-H educators compare habitat maps. After drawing habitat maps, youth can submit their observations on YardMap.

We launched our latest cohort on the following dates:

  • California – October 22 & 23, 2014
  • Illinois – November 13 & 14, 2014
  • New York – November 20 & 21, 2014

Efforts for connecting 4-H to citizen science have included the following initiatives:

    1. In 2013, 4-H county educators and volunteers across New York State and California piloted the BirdSleuth K-12 Nature Detectives Kit to determine its effectiveness for guiding kids towards participating in citizen science.
    2. A national survey to learn about 4-H interest in and experience with citizen science across the country was sent to 4-H State Specialists, Regional and County educators, and key staff or volunteers.
    3. webinar June 12th, repeated June 13th, shared findings from the survey, offered ways to integrate citizen science into 4-H programming, and highlighted exemplary citizen-science projects in different 4-H contexts.
    4. In 2014, the project expanded to include 4-H county educators within New York State and across the entirety of the United States. Educators had the option to pilot either Nature Detectives or Habitat Connections to determine the curricula’s effectiveness for guiding kids toward participating in citizen science.  This cohort of 42 educators is currently implementing the curricula.
    5. In 2015 we teamed with state coordinators in three focus states: New York, Illinois, and California. Educators within these states attended an in-person training and are now working with youth to implement either Nature Detectives or Habitat Connections. Through their programmatic work, and by looking at both the educators and the youth they serve, we are investigating the pathways towards the development of science identity in youth.
Interested in learning how you can get involved? Contact Kelly at birdsleuth [at] cornell [dot] edu

 2015 Cohort Resources Archived Webinars | 2014 Cohort Resources