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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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 East Bay Body Burden Project
 Organization Name Global Community Monitor
 Project Website
 Organization Website
 Contact Name Ruth Breech
 Contact Email
 Contact Phone (510)233-1870
 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) Assess exposure to heavy metal pollution present in the homes and bodies of children living near industrial facilities in the West Berkeley and West Oakland area.

 Participant Activities Each participant will be asked to make their home available for one wipe sample, and take your child to Children’s Hospital Oakland for one blood draw (2 mL, about the size of a tablespoon). Twelve 24 hour air samples will be taken during the length of the study at five homes. The study is expected to take six to eight months from the introductory meeting to the final report. All blood draws will be conducted at Oakland Children’s Hospital by a licensed phlebotomist that is trained in working with young children.

 Data Entry Other
 Other Participant Activities Community organizing and advocacy work with GCM and other groups.

 System Studied Air Quality, Pollution Clean-up or Monitoring
 Geographic Scope Local
 Region Alameda
 Location Berkeley near Pacific Steel Castings & West Oakland near Custom Alloy Scrap Sales
 Location - Map Gilman St & 2nd St Berkeley, CA 94710; 2730 Peralta Street, Oakland, CA 94607
 Time Commitment Other (see Other Information below)
 Volunteer Qualifications This study is inviting 70 children (and their parents) between the ages of 1-5 to participate in the study, 35 children from each community.

Who can join:

Young children are often exposed to higher levels of pollution. This study is focusing on children ages one to five who have lived in their same home for a minimum of one year/twelve months. Families living within one mile of Pacific Steel Castings or Custom Alloy Scrap Sales will be given preference.

Participant Requirements

The study has several requirements to ensure success. All interested families must:

  • Complete and sign the consent form.
  • Be available for a short interview to conduct the screening questionnaire.
  • Take your child for one blood test at Children’s Hospital Oakland.
  • Be available for one dust wipe sample at your home.

Study Team Requirements

The study team has requirements during the planning process and while the study is conducted. All researchers must:

  • Have proper training in working with human participants.
  • Receive approval from an Institutional Review Board.
  • Provide clear information and be available to answer questions.
 How will the findings be used? Participating families will receive a letter with their child’s blood sample results and their homes’ dust wipe sample results, compared to national averages and relevant health guidelines.

There will be a team of environmental health professionals available to answer questions and available for individual meetings. There will be a series of optional conference calls and a group meeting to discuss overall trends. An analysis will be conducted to return to the original question-”Are children living near industry exposed to greater amounts of pollution than those further away?” The results will be compiled into a final report.

Public Report

The Study team will be compiling a report with the results, trends and analysis. The report will be given to study participants before the public release. Where appropriate, the study report will be released to the media, policy makers, government agencies, area businesses and the general public. All information will be kept strictly confidential unless your family would like to volunteer to share their story.

Possible Outcomes

Since this is a pilot project, the study team will encourage additional researchers (academic and agency) to broaden the scope of the research-to involve you in the process and with your families’ best interest in mind.

We also believe that this study may provide useful information for policy makers, company management, and the broader community.

 Other Information

This research study is sponsored by Global Community Monitor in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, and Children’s Hospital Oakland.
See links below for detailed information: 


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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