Building Community

We work with amazing partners to engage and build community around biodiversity research and conservation.



In 2014, iNaturalist—a social network through which anyone can record and discuss their observations of the natural world—became part of the Academy. Scientists and land managers can pose questions to the iNaturalist community (and use the resulting data to monitor changes in biodiversity), and anyone can use iNaturalist to learn more about nature itself. 

Bay Area Citizen Science Coalition


In 2013, the California Academy of Sciences organized the first meeting of the Bay Area Citizen Science Coalition. The Coalition is largely made up of organizations that run biodiversity-related citizen science programs in the Bay Area, but it also includes teachers who do citizen science with their students, academics who research citizen science outcomes on participants and communities, city and land managers interested in data collected through citizen science projects, and some stellar citizen scientists!

The Bay Area Citizen Science Coalition serves multiple purposes:

  • To build community in the Bay Area around citizen science
  • To provide mutual support to and to share knowledge and resources among local citizen science programs
  • To discuss and improve best practices in citizen science locally
  • To work collaboratively to better understand and document Bay Area biodiversity

Nerds for Nature

Nerds for Nature

Nerds for Nature is an all-volunteer organization in the Bay Area that brings environmental professionals together with technologists and designers, first in dialogue and then to collaboratively create awesome new tools to help people discover, protect, and understand the world around them.

The California Academy of Sciences partners with Nerds for Nature and iNaturalist, as well as other organizations and land managers, to hold one-day grassroots bioblitzes in urban parks and open spaces around the Bay Area.

San Mateo County MPA Collaborative Golden Gate MPA Collaborative

MPA Collaboratives

Academy citizen science staff participate in both the San Mateo County and Golden Gate (Marin and San Francisco Counties) Marine Protected Area Collaboratives. These MPA Collaboratives provide a localized, comprehensive approach to MPA implementation in California by bringing together local experts and authorities in the areas of Outreach and Education, Enforcement and Research, and Monitoring.

Marin MPA Watch

Marin MPA Watch

We work together with the West Marin Environmental Action Committee and the Point Reyes National Seashore to coordinate the Marin MPA Watch Program. Marin MPA Watch is a citizen science monitoring program that trains volunteers to observe and record human uses within the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Marin County, and to interact with the public on matters of MPA regulations. The MPA Watch Program is part of a larger effort facilitated by the California Ocean Science Trust. If you’re interested in learning more, please email

National Citizen Science Association

National Citizen Science Association

The Academy is a steering committee member of the Citizen Science Association, a community of practice for the field of citizen science. The newly formed association will have its first meeting in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science Conference in February 2015 in San Jose, California.

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Documenting Biodiversity Blog

Keep up with our day-to-day efforts by following the Document Biodiversity blog, maintained by members of the Academy's Citizen Science department. 

Visit the Naturalist Center

Located on Level 3, the Naturalist Center is the Academy's home of interactive learning. Touch specimens, ask questions, or join one of our daily programs, all free with admission.