Citizen Science Ambassadors: The Best Summer Experience Ever

If I were asked what I remember the most about the summer of 2015, I would easily say all of the hard work I’ve done this summer. Now, I have two reasons for working hard, but the one that stands out the most is the work I’ve done as a Citizen Science Ambassador. I had the opportunity to make new friends, discover a world I have never known and explore the Adler Planetarium like I have not done before. While any other teenager’s summer vacation would be dedicated to being lazy, my partner and I’s were dedicated to a project that we are very proud of and would love to have the opportunity to do it again.

This summer I had the opportunity to analyze a project from Zooniverse, a website that filled with projects that scientist do not have the time to go through and analyze themselves, so they leave it up to citizens all over the world to do this for them. The Zooniverse project I had the experience of analyzing this summer was Snapshot Serengeti. My main reason of choosing this project is because I love to learn about wildlife animals, and while the other Zooniverse projects- The Milky Way Project and Galaxy Zoo- were interesting, Snapshot Serengeti captured my interest more. I liked the fact that with Snapshot Serengeti I was able to basically track animals and that just from pictures, scientist all over are able to track the eating habits and migration habits of each animal that is captured on camera. They are able to see how frequently each animal visit the spot, during what times of the year and how many goes to that certain spot at a time. In the end I also chose this project because the questions that I came up with for this zooniverse project seemed more interesting to look into than the questions I came up with for the other two projects.

In order to answer my research question I needed to learn new skills, and these skills will be able to help me with any other experience I have that will be similar to this one. First I had to learn how to code, which I used Code Academy to help with that. My experience with Code Academy is better than any other tool I have used to answer my question. By using Code Academy I was able to learn how to code different functions, list, plots and dictionaries that helped me preform the actions I needed to take to create the plot for my question. I also had to learn how to use iPython Notebook. I did not like learning how to use this program very much, only because it was a lot harder to learn this program than Code Academy. I am, however, proud of how much I learned using this program. When I stated using this program I felt insecure about my abilities to code, but after I created the plot for my research question, I felt confident with my coding abilities.

Code

An example of code we used

While working on this project I have made many exciting discoveries. Throughout this project I had learned a lot about the migration patterns of the lions and zebras. I was able to learn about the how often each animal moved and what each animal ate. This allowed me to be able to figure out if these two animals will be in the same place at the same time and if their migration patterns are affected by what they eat. It was fun discovering different codes for functions that were able to help me create plots and other charts in order to answer my research question. It was also fun discovering, after the plot was made, that the animals were in the same location.

Plot

Some questions I still have after all of this is: Were the zebras and lions there at the same exact date or were they just captured there on the same camera? And are there any other plots we could make that would express our answer to the question? If I were able to expand my project I would create more charts that go in depth of each month and location of the animals and if any of them were in the exact same place at the exact same time.

Here’s a link to the website my partner and I have made: Snapshot Serengeti Project

 

Keyaira

My name is Keyaira Taylor and I like to play softball, listen to music, read, eat, write and sleep. I like to watch tv in my free time. I want to go to Ball State University or University of Illinois to study early childhood education.

 

 

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