Building Citizen-Science Investigators With Youth Leaders


Are you looking for ways to add more inquiry-based learning and teen leadership to your STEM program?

K-12 Education is looking for NYS extension educators and volunteers who are interested in using citizen science to spark youth inquiry projects. Participants will recruit a youth leader to form a youth-adult team that will build STEM facilitation skills and plan, recruit, and lead youth participants through an inquiry-based learning project together. The adult partner would take K-12’s new interactive online professional development course, Inspiring Investigations through Citizen Science. This course uses readings, videos, interactive quizzes, and discussions to guide educators through the best practices of engaging youth with citizen science and inquiry. Adult participants will be expected to share the most relevant materials and techniques with their youth partner. Teams would participate in an in-person, hands-on workshop to complement the inquiry course and support program development. Adult participants would take this course in fall 2018 and use the skills learned in the course to plan and deliver their program in spring/summer 2019.

Our ideal candidate is an NYS extension educator or volunteer willing to recruit a teen leader to help facilitate their programming. Ideal teen leaders should have an interest in science and the outdoors, building leadership skills, and organizing community projects. Ideal adult participants include 4-H educators and volunteers, Master Gardeners, and Horticulture Extension staff. Adult candidates should have an interest in using citizen science or leading outdoor investigations, experience teaching youth via Extension and 4-H. Teams should have a strong interest in reaching out to K-12 youth in the coming year through citizen science and STEM investigations.

You do not have to have your teen leader recruited when you apply.

Projects would focus on the citizen-science project of your choice. This could be one of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology citizen-science projects or projects run by other organizations (check out SciStarter for some ideas).


  • November 2, 2018: Applications due, apply here
  • December 2018 – January 2019
    • Recruit your youth partner
    • Complete the Inspiring Investigations through Citizen Science course (20-25 hours) and share relevant resources with youth partner
  • January 25th-26th, 2019: Attend an in-person training at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with your youth partner to deepen course learning and discuss project implementation.
  • February-August 2019: Engage youth in citizen-science inspired inquiry (number of youth, citizen-science project, and inquiry project parameters determined by the youth-adult team)
  • August 2019: Showcase efforts at NYS Fair
  • September-October 2019: Complete a final written assessment, follow-up interview, and post-survey.

Benefits and Compensation

  • Access to Inspiring Investigations through Citizen Science online course, including Investigating Evidence curriculum ($59.95 value)
  • $1,250 to the Association per team to cover travel and lodging for training, staff time for coursework, and supplies for project implementation


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