Community Science

Community Science

Cincinnati Nature Center Community Science Team Logo

Join our Community Science Team at Cincinnati Nature Center!

Community science is a great way to get involved in scientific research. In this unique partnership, the general public and scientists work together to collect data on a number of environmental topics. From bird studies, to water quality surveys, to mapping tree populations in a specific region, the work done through community science projects is invaluable in helping shape our understanding of the natural world. The best part? Anyone can get involved! Find a project that speaks to you below:


Pond in the woods

Stream and Pond Monitoring at Rowe Woods and Long Branch Farm & Trails

Looking for an excellent reason to play in the water? Cincinnati stream and pond monitoring volunteers assess water quality by collecting and identifying macroinvertebrates. Depending on what species are found, and how many, we can estimate the water quality of our area. If you would like to learn more about how macroinvertebrates can be used to study water ecosystem health, please explore this resource from the US EPA.

For more information, contact or (513) 965-3348.

Two bluebirds sitting on a birdhouse

Bluebird Monitoring at Rowe Woods and Long Branch Farm & Trails

Each summer, we actively monitor more than 100 Eastern Bluebird nest boxes! Nest boxes provide safe nesting habitat for local songbirds. Many songbirds rely on nest boxes because of declining natural nesting habitat. The Eastern Bluebird is one species that has been impacted by this loss.

To help the population rebound, volunteers strategically place nesting boxes to attract Eastern Bluebirds. Our volunteers track Bluebird nesting activity and add new nest boxes in areas that have successful nests. Additionally, we send our monitoring data to the Ohio Bluebird Society to contribute to their mission. 

For more information, contact or (513) 965-3348.

Yellow butterfly sitting on a purple shrub

Butterfly Monitoring at Rowe Woods

Contribute to one of the Nature Center's oldest community science programs by searching for butterflies! From April through October, a group of dedicated volunteers search for resident and migrant butterflies. Volunteers have been recording butterfly populations at the Nature Center for more than 20 years, building one of the few long-term butterfly datasets in the countryEach year, the data collected at Rowe Woods is sent to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for their records and to be managed by the Ohio Lepidopterists organization.

Click here to learn more about the Ohio Lepidopterists survey protocol. 

For more information, contact or (513) 965-3348.

Cardinal in snow

National Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Hit the trails this winter for the Annual Christmas Bird Count!  This is the nation's longest running community science bird project. Small groups will hike assigned routes to count every bird they see and hear to gather data to help determine bird populations across North America.   

For more information, contact or (513) 965-3348.

Woodpecker hanging onto a bird feeder

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Project FeederWatch at Rowe Woods

As part of Project FeederWatch, dedicated group of volunteers gather twice weekly during the winter months to count all birds that gather at the feeding stations outside the Visitor Center viewing windows. Data compiled is submitted to Cornell Labs for use in long term bird studies.

Sign up to join our Project FeederWatch sessions here!

Forest covered in snow with several tree with maple buckets

Sugar Maple Monitoring at Rowe Woods

Help us support our Maple Syrup Program!  Since 2003, we’ve tapped more than 100 of our Sugar Maple Trees to collect sap for our very own maple syrupOver the years, our staff and volunteers have crafted this into a hands-on educational experience for our members and visitorsIn 2019, we started officially identifying, tagging, and gathering specific information on the trees we tap. This data will allow us to track changes in sap flow and tree health over time.  

For more information, contact or (513) 965-3348.

Yellow and black caterpillar on an orange flower

Monarch Larvae Monitoring

Each summer, volunteers at Cincinnati Nature Center survey patches of milkweed to monitor monarch eggs and larvae. The volunteers have surveyed a total of 28 different milkweed patches; 24 have been surveyed every year (excluding 2020) since 2015. Monitoring includes counting all eggs and larvae on each milkweed plant. At the end of the season, the data is sent to the Monarch Join Venture as part of the Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project.

For more information, contact or (513) 965-3348.