The Nebraska Watershed Network, part of UNO’s Department of Biology, is hoping to expand their Nebraska Environmental Stewardship Task Force, or NEST.
Dr. Alan Kolok, Director of the Watershed Network, says so far they have done 11 different environmental campaigns with citizen scientists helping them gather data.
Kolok says they provide all the training and testing materials -- which are typically as easy to use as a home pregnancy test or home blood glucose test.
He says participants are able to see the results of their data collection right away.
"What we have the citizens do is they upload their data into a web-based data management system that we have, and the really nice thing from the perspective of the citizens is they can then click a button and look at the map of the state and see their data represented on the map of the state relative to everyone else’s data on the map of the state. So there is immediate feedback to the citizens, which I think is really valuable."
Kolok says having citizen manpower allows them to do projects that would otherwise be nearly impossible.
For example, in 2014 and 2015, they tested 120 different sites from the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota to New Orleans with the help of interested citizens.
For more information, find the Nebraska Watershed Network on Facebook.