The Cornell Lab of Ornithology–a premier citizen science research and support organization–is launching an exciting new program in the Fall of 2010. The Lab focuses most of its energy on aggregating and analyzing the efforts of thousands of volunteer citizen scientists to better understand the population and behavior of birds. Now, they are interested to better understand the habitats of birds, and not just the wild birds perched on remote mountain tops, but those right in your very own back yard.
The upcoming launch of YardMap.org will help researchers better understand the relationship between gardens, rural and urban greenspaces and the birds that live and thrive in these habitats. And, although it might at first seem odd to consider that your own yard would be considered a natural habitat, just remember that real nature creeps right up to your front door, and you don’t have to travel to exotic places to see and be a part of the real natural world.
The new interactive interface will use satellite imagery of your own green space as a canvas upon which you may overlay programmed images (or “avatars”) of vegetation and other features that you select to represent your yard. The system will then analyze your map and layout, and provide you feedback on the quality of your habitat and how yo can make it better for the birds.
YardMap will also act as a social media interface, and will allow other reporting habitat owners to communicate, review other layouts, and learn more about backyard habitats from others throughout the community of citizen scientists.
Sign up at the site and they will invite you to begin accessing the beta test of the system as soon as it is ready later this fall. We would like to learn about your experience here at Dynamic Patterns Research, so please let us know if you plan to participate.