About Community Science

A Community Hub

Participation in the Garden’s community science activities is a great way to make new friends, and enjoy the Garden’s seasonal changes. Join us in actively protecting California’s flora, and all the diverse life that depends on native plants in wild nature and local watersheds, in the Garden, and in our communities and backyards.

Get involved on any scale, from a one-time experience at the Garden, to special training for regularly scheduled data collection, to volunteering as the team lead on a project. We host both Garden-led and selected partner-led projects; research takes place both on the grounds and in some cases off-site.

Why Community Science?

Image of California Phenology Project taken by Frederique LavoipierreCommunity science is changing the way scientists conduct research. Teams of volunteers can collect much larger datasets than would otherwise be possible for scientists to acquire. Large datasets also decrease the potential for error, and increase statistical confidence in scientific results. Advances in technology have made it simpler than ever to collect and analyze data, and to design studies that can help us better understand nature. Some projects use social media for data collection, making it simple and fun for community scientists to participate with the use of a cell phone. Projects can be conducted regionally, while some involve community scientists across the country and around the world.

Those who participate in field work benefit from a deepened understanding of how science works and its relevance to daily life and environmental health. Some projects are wonderful interactive teaching tools for youth and families, engaging participants directly in having an impact on environmental health. Projects are available to accommodate all ages and abilities.

California Naturalist Program

Image of California Naturalist Field Trip taken by Michelle GeeThe UC certified California Naturalist program is a terrific way to acquire a broad overview of the Santa Barbara region's natural history. Led by Garden staff, we host over a dozen of the region's expert naturalists, and enjoy field trips to some of Santa Barbara’s most beatuiful natural areas. The program emphasises training for volunteer naturalists, restoration, and community science projects.

To learn more about our Community Science and California Naturalist programs, please contact the Garden's Education Assistant, Michelle Gee, call (805) 682-4726 ext 161.

Volunteer for Science

Image of X-Stream Science Team at Discovery Station taken by Frederique Lavoipierre

Depending on your involvement with our community science projects, a volunteer application may be required. Attendance at Citizen Science Club meetings does not require Garden admission or a volunteer application; and serves as a great introduction to the Garden.

Volunteers committed to a project led by Garden staff, largely conducted on the Garden grounds, or serving as team leaders may be required to submit an application. Community science volunteers often participate in other Garden activities, gain free admission to the Garden, and other benefits. Please contact the Garden's Manager of Volunteer Programs, Kathy Castaneda, with questions about volunteer applications and opportunities.

Become a volunteer today!

Additional Resources

Citizen Science Association

California Naturalist Citizen Science Projects