Certified Citizen Scientists

Want to collect scientific data on your own?


Or lead students and your own groups independently in hands-on scientific activities?


It’s a simple and fun way to learn and teach others about the importance of trees in the urban landscape. Getting certified ensures you (and any fellow volunteers you choose to lead out) can independently collect research-grade scientific data on the urban trees all around you without waiting on others to set up collection events.

Learn more about our current project on our Volunteer page.



1. Become trained

To become a Certified Citizen Scientist, you will need to pass a short written test on the data collection protocol + a field test involving actual measurements of some reference trees.


2.  Attend a Training Event or take Online Training

  • In-Person:  Join an in-person training event (approximately 3 hours + any travel time to the field testing site) where the classroom concepts and paper test will be administered on-site before being guided to some local trees for the field test. All equipment and materials will be provided.
    • Subscribe to our e-newsletter to be notified of upcoming training events.
  • Online:  Visit the Training section of the website to review the classroom materials and take the classroom test online. To complete the field test, you may e-mail us to receive instructions for measuring trees in a reference park convenient to your location.  (Alternatively, you’re welcome to join any in-person training event’s field test to take your measurements there).

After submitting your measurements back to us, we’ll provide feedback on your results.  If you finish this field test with a passing score, we’ll mail you a paper certificate plus a measuring tape to celebrate your accomplishment!


3. Collect data

After getting certified, all you need to continue taking measurements as a Certified Citizen Scientist is a smart phone (or GPS device), a 33ft string, a compass (or compass app on your phone), and a measuring tape.

As an Earthwatch-approved Certified Citizen Scientist you will also be able to borrow our Earthwatch toolkits (multiple rental locations throughout Los Angeles and Riverside Counties as well as Indio/Palm Desert) free of charge.

If you’re interested in managing groups and bringing friends, family, colleagues, etc. with you out into the field, review the Team Leader section on our Training page to gain mastery over additional facilitation techniques.

As a Certified Citizen Scientist, you’ll be qualified to collect scientific research measurements for this project whether you go out solo or lead others in doing so.


4. Reach goal and enter data

Per your training instructions as a Certified Citizen Scientist, either submit your written observations via email or enter the data points directly into iNaturalist.

Unsure of whether you want to pursue certification?  Join us as a Volunteer at an existing collection event to familiarize yourself with the data collection protocol under the guidance of an Earthwatch staff member or Certified Citizen Scientist.

  • Sun
    12:00 pmlocation

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  • Sat
    9:30am - 12:30pmFairmount Park, 2601 Fairmount Blvd., Riverside CA 92501


    #loveriverside2016 is coming up on National Make a Difference Day. Saturday, October 22 come show us you love Riverside by giving back to your local urban forest.

    RSVP here: http://loveourcitiesprojects.com/projects/riverside/92501-operation-resilient-trees-fairmont-park

  • Thu
    1:00 pmTree People Conference Center, 12601 Mulholland Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210


    Earthwatch Institute invites you to join us in celebrating 2016 Southern California Teacher and Student Fellows!

    Teachers and student fellows will share their first hand experiences studying caterpillars, climate change, coral reefs, and much more on expeditions ranging from the Cayman Islands to the Arctic.

    We look forward to seeing you there!


  • Thu
    2:30 - 4:30pm PSTBill Botts Field, Duquesne Avenue, Culver City, CA 90232

    Have an Android phone?  Want to help take measurements with the pros and see the hybrid method (video link here) in action?  Join this collection event with Earthwatch staff to measure park and street trees using iNaturalist. Volunteers and Certified Citizen Scientists welcome, but be ready to move fast for this highly mobile event.  RSVP via EventBrite by Tuesday, November 15th to secure your spot.

Search Earthwatch Urban Resiliency Program