Did you know that you can help scientists around the world from the comfort of your own home?

Zooniverse is one of the world’s largest collections of research projects that anyone can volunteer to support. The best part is, you do not need to have any scientific training to support the projects, and they vary in length and type of assistance needed! If you’re interested in participating in science, you’re sure to find a project that will excite you.

Here are a couple examples of some animal-focused projects from Zoo researchers and friends of the Minnesota Zoo:

  • Offal Wildlife Watching (aka “Who eats your guts?”): This project is focused on better understanding what and when species use deer gut piles provided by hunters across Minnesota. The research is being led by Dr. Joseph Bump (Associate Professor and the Gordon W. Gullion Endowed Chair in Forest Wildlife Research & Education at the University of Minnesota) and Ellen Candler (Conservation Science PhD student at the University of Minnesota). They are looking for help classifying the video and images from the cameras. If you think you might be able to tell the difference between a wolf and coyote, this project could be a great fit for you!
  • Chicago Wildlife WatchThis project, led by Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute, is focused on monitoring and assessing the biodiversity of the greater Chicagoland area. They have motion-triggered cameras set up 4 times a year at more than 100 sites across the city. These researchers need help identifying animals found in camera trap photos from around the city.

The Zooniverse page has projects in a variety of disciplines, including art, biology, climate, history, language, literature, medicine, nature, physics, social science, and space. There is a project for everyone to volunteer for- we hope you’ll check it out and lend science a hand!

The Minnesota Zoo would love to see examples of how you used this activity at home! Please share pictures or comments via email at [email protected], and take less than 5 minutes of time to provide us feedback by completing this short survey.