Community Science

The importance of community science

Community science plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between scientific research and the general public. It empowers individuals, regardless of their background, to actively participate in data collection and contribute to research efforts.

Otter Spotter

The return of river otters, once a rare sight on the urban, degraded Elizabeth River, has inspired a new collaboration between the Elizabeth River Project, and the River Otter Ecology Project and FieldScope, two national organizations promoting community science to understand and protect river otters.

Otter Spotters report the date, time, and location of their river otter sightings and river otter sign (e.g., scat!). Just report the number of river otters in a FieldScope account and what behavior you observe. Photos and videos of your sighting are highly encouraged! For questions, contact Mary Bennett,


Lead Your Own Litter Clean-Up

Want to hold your own clean-up event with your school, business, organization or neighborhood group? That’s awesome! Just send your results, photos and some of the most common and uncommon things you find during your cleanup to: Kayla Gradwell at Or, share it on social media and tag us.

Catch the Spat

Help the Elizabeth River Project understand how our native oysters are naturally reseeding throughout the river. Hang a cage with recycled oyster shell to ‘catch the spat,’ baby oysters floating along in the water column. Cage checkout is May 2024 and cage return is September 2024. For questions, contact Mary Bennett,

Osprey Watch

OspreyWatch is a global community of observers focused on breeding osprey. Osprey are one of very few truly global sentinels for aquatic health. They feed almost exclusively on live fish throughout their entire life cycle. They are a top consumer within aquatic ecosystems and are very sensitive to both overfishing and environmental contaminants.

The mission of OspreyWatch is to collect information on a large enough spatial scale to be useful in addressing three of the most pressing issues facing aquatic ecosystems including global climate change, depletion of fish stocks, and environmental contaminants.

Youth Water Monitoring Results

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