Citizen Science

Turning ordinary observations into useful data

Natural history observations have always contributed to scientific understanding, and now, thanks to increased connectivity via the Internet, the scientific community is better situated to utilize these observations, especially through citizen science projects.

We have engaged community members in several such projects, including iNaturalist, Nature’s Notebook, and Southwest Monarch Study, by leading training workshops, and setting up monitoring locations on the Prescott College campus.

Check out the three projects we’ve partnered with and consider making your own observations when you visit us on the Prescott College campus:

Nature’s Notebook

At the Natural History Institute’s Pollinator Garden and Monarch Waystation, and the nearby Lower Butte Creek, you can record phenology observations of several tagged plants, either online or through the Nature’s Notebook app on your phone. Phenology is simply the reoccurring, annual stages that happen in a plant or animal’s life, like when leaves bud or change colors.

Get started by creating an account and join our project here!

Southwest Monarch Study

In addition to providing Monarch (Danaus plexippus) habitat in our Pollinator Garden and Monarch Waystation, the Natural History Institute’s staff and volunteers have helped tag migrating Monarchs since 2013.

If you live in the Southwest, learn more and join in here!

More citizen science endeavors that benefit Monarchs throughout the United States can be found here.


Anyone can use iNaturalist anywhere, anytime to document observations of plants and animals, especially if they are using a phone app. If you are unsure what species you saw, don’t worry, the iNaturalist community will help with identification.

At the Natural History Institute, we encourage folks to make observations in our Pollinator Garden and Monarch Waystation, this helps us keep track of what is blooming when, and which bees and butterflies are attracted to the garden.

Join our observation project and learn more about iNaturalist here!