California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Community Science for CA Naturalists

Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

 Project Name Project Tierra
 Organization Name Watsonville Wetlands Watch
 Project Website ,
 Organization Website
 Partners e-Bird, Santa Cruz Bird Club
 Contact Name NoĆ«lle Antolin, Director of Education Programs
 Contact Email
 Contact Phone 831-728-1156 x 5
 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) To collect and record environmental data over the long-term to monitor the biodiversity and overall health of the Watsonville wetlands. The overarching goal of Project Tierra is to provide ongoing data regarding water quality, plant populations and bird populations to the scientific community that will inform wetland conservation and land management decisions in the Pajaro Valley. Project Tierra is especially interested in using this data to evaluate the success of Watsonville Wetlands Watch restoration projects and guide the adaptive management of these lands.

 Participant Activities Bird populations: Volunteers assist in counting land and shore bird populations in Watsonville Sloughs and surrounding upland habitats. Volunteers use bird protocols designed by local experts in ornithology and the Watsonville Sloughs system. Volunteers can monitor alone or in teams, on their own time or at events.

Water quality: Each month, volunteers test water quality in the Watsonville Sloughs. They measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, and turbidity. They also sample periodically for nutrients and bacteria levels.

Aquatic invertebrates: Volunteers and students visit the local sloughs to sample and identify the diversity of species of aquatic invertebrates in the wetlands. Because some species of aquatic invertebrates are more sensitive to pollution than others, the kinds of species found help us determine how healthy a wetland is.

Vegetation: Volunteers monitor plant populations in restored wetland and upland sites of the Watsonville Sloughs. Project Tierra is interested in native versus non-native plant populations as well as rare, threatened, and endangered plants.

 Data Entry Website, Unknown
 Other Participant Activities Project Tierra also invites students and researchers to get involved by using the data to help answer local and regional water quality questions.

 System Studied Birds, Plants, Water Quality, Invertebrates, Wetlands - Freshwater Streams and Marshes
 Geographic Scope Local
 Region Santa Cruz
 Location Watsonville Sloughs and surrounding upland habitats
 Location - Map 500 Harkins Slough Road, Watsonville, CA
 Time Commitment Specific dates (see Other Information below), Other (see Other Information below)
 Volunteer Qualifications For Water Quality, Aquatic Invertebrates, and Vegetation Monitoring: Volunteers must commit to once per month participation and attend a 2-hour training before getting started.

For Bird Population monitoring: Volunteers must attend orientation at Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center. 

 Volunteer Training

Bird Population monitoring orientation covers:

  • Introduction to Project Tierra
  • Survey Methods
  • Site Overviews
  • Data sharing: Setting up eBird account and sharing data with WWW
 How will the findings be used? Reports and data is available on the website and is used to inform management decisions

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check

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