For my citizen science project, I participated in the “Where are my body organs?” project on zooniverse.org. In this project I was tasked with identifying some personal information, and then marking a chart according to where I believed the location of an organ or similar structure was. The purpose of this project was to help medical professionals better understand the state of medical education both in specified courses and in the general education system, as well as assisting medical professionals in understanding their patients better. I chose this project because I value the medical field and the ability of workers in said field to be able to function optimally. I figured that as a younger person with a previous credit in a high school anatomy course I could help to diversify the data of the project, especially since my education is non-college accredited or certifiable. I hope my involvement will shed light on the state of medical knowledge in the general populace and any disparities lying within.
For my citizen science project, I participated in Galaxy Zoo and Planet Hunters TESS. Both of these involved astronomy and identifying different aspects of stars and galaxy. Through planet hunters I learned what I transit was and helped identify and mark some on a light curve. A transit is when a planet blocks out some of its parent star’s light, and so has some unusually low dots on the light curve. For Galaxy Zoo, they gave me pictures of galaxies and I had to identify different characteristics of them. For example, whether or not the galaxy was smooth and rounded or showed signs of being a disk. I really enjoyed learning more about our universe and the different attributes of the stars, planets or galaxies in it.
For my citizen science project, I went on zooniverse.com and completed the beluga bits project. In this project, you were told to use pointers to identify if you saw any belugas (and if so how many and how old you thought they were), as well as if you could tell the sex and if the beluga had any distinguishing marks across its body/fins. The point of this project was to identify history of the beluga that visit the Churchill River in Northern Manitoba, Canada during the summer. I really enjoyed being able to differentiate these belugas and categorize them because I have always wondered why and how animals are able to migrate the same patters every year. Not to mention, if you love seeing cute pictures of animals then this project is really enjoyable because there were a lot of times I saw very up close pictures of belugas.
On December 1, 2018, I did conservation work for Arizona Audubon at Black Canyon Heritage Park in Black Canyon City. I first started by removing overpopulated plants near the walkways. Shears in hand, I removed around a dozen plants, to allow more room for the native plants to grow. After the shearing, I went on to remove dead cacti branches/arms from the water, which occupied a good amount of time. In the end, I did a lot of leave raking near the water areas. All in all, I had a good time volunteering my Saturday morning for conservation work, I got to see a beautiful park, and help to conserve it.
Carlos Llanes Villegas
For my Citizen Science Project, I chose to participate in the Brain Match project on Zooniverse.com. In this activity, I was asked to compare two separate images of a brain: the actual image of an individual’s brain and the target image of the brain. I had to judge how well the two images matched – they either completely matched, matched to some extent, or did not match at all. This process is similar to brain registration, a procedure to align images of different brains to ensure that the anatomy matches. However, the process is susceptible to errors as researchers have to visually compare the images with no customary guidelines or regulations for judging. According to the researcher, the project was created to follow qualified, basic guidelines to test if the ratings of the quality of brain registration produced consistent results. By taking part in this activity, I had contributed to the data for this test. If the investigators collect the data they need, they may be able to program computers to judge quality of brain registration more accurately.
For my citizen science project, I did the PELIcam Classification. In this project I had to look at different pictures of habitats and areas and report what I saw. Some things I had to report were the species of the bird, the age, and if there were any other animals or predators in the habitat with the birds. It was interesting to see and identify different types of birds and even learn a few characteristics about the actual birds themselves. When I did this project, it helped the researchers and scientists identify and study the birds with the information that I gave them. Hopefully, my identifications and reports can help them with future pelican projects in the future.
It was a lot of fun to go to the Arizona Science Center and learn about all the interesting things that were displayed there. I learned about things ranging from the human brain to magnetism to electricity to gravity. It was especially fun to see the display of the “dancing trees”: little balls of iron shavings that moved to the beat of a song via electromagnets. It was really exciting to learn new and interesting science information by seeing it and having a hands-on experience with it. I hope that Youngker SNHS continues to go to the Science Center and learn about all the fun things there are to see there.