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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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 Elkhorn Slough Shorebird and Waterfowl Monitoring
 Organization Name Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
 Project Website ;
 Organization Website
 Contact Name Amanda Ankenbrandt, Volunteer Coordinator
 Contact Email
 Contact Phone (831) 728-2822 ext. 303
 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) Quantify the diversity (species richness) and abundance of shorebirds and waterfowl using central Reserve wetland habitats. If dramatic changes are detected, we can contact other organizations and reserves along the Pacific coast and attempt to find the cause of the pattern, if it is widespread. If the change is only local, we can seek explanations in terms small-scale events such as alterations to pollution levels or habitat management strategies.

 Participant Activities Volunteer birders carry out monthly surveys of shorebirds and waterfowl at low tide during 10 minute watches in five defined areas of Reserve wetlands (mudflats and ephemeral freshwater habitats) located along the South Marsh loop trail: Barn Pond, Big Lagoon and 5-Pans, Freshwater Rookery.

 Data Entry Unknown
 Other Participant Activities Other volunteer activities include: 

  • Leading guided tours of the Reserve
  • Staffing the Visitor Center and Bookstore
  • Providing general program support
  • Assisting with research at the Reserve
  • Working with our Administration and Maintenance Programs
  • Assisting with habitat restoration
  • Helping with special projects and events
 System Studied Birds, Water Quality, Wetlands - Freshwater Streams and Marshes, Intertidal zone
 Geographic Scope Local
 Region Monterey
 Location Elkhorn Slough
 Location - Map 1700 Elkhorn Rd., Watsonville, CA 95076
 Time Commitment Monthly
 Volunteer Qualifications Research and monitoring opportunities are open to volunteers interested in long-term opportunities. 

 Volunteer Training Long-term volunteers participate in the Volunteer Naturalist Training Class. Naturalist training class topics include: ecology, biology, current and past research at the Reserve, ongoing Reserve projects, cultural histories, Interpretation skills, communication techniques, trail mechanics, and educational activities. Everyone is welcome.

The Introductory Orientation training class will be on Saturday January 12.

The advanced sessions are open to any potential ESNERR Volunteer but required to be a Volunteer Naturalist.  Naturalist classes are every Saturday in February (Feb - 2, 9, 16, 23) with a partial day on Saturday March 9.

more information on the naturalist training can be found here:

 How will the findings be used? Data and maps are available on website and are provided to agencies and organizations to guide management decisions and actions

 last update: 1/3/13

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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