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WeatherBlur: 10 Years of Student-Led Citizen Science

A photo of students and a teacher in cold weather clothing standing by the ocean looking at a clipboard together.

For over a decade, WeatherBlur, now known as iWonder, has engaged students in community-based science investigations.

Over 20 unique datasets were created by students who spent time applying the scientific method in their local communities. Students partnered with experts to deepen their understanding of the issues related to their investigations and assisted with the development of protocols used to collect data. Using the data they collected and analyzed, students applied their investigation results to planning community action projects.

For example, this year teacher Abby Plummer at the Edna Drinkwater School in Northport and her students combined investigations done in previous years into a single investigation. Students had previously examined the impact of historic climate data on tree growth using NOAA data and tree core samples. Other classes investigated the prevalence of microplastics in ocean water and clams. This year, students are collecting tree core samples with increment boreres and examining those samples for microplastics. 

Marci Train and her students at the Long Island School on Long Island have studied the impacts of shoreline erosion on their local beach. Part of this investigation was using historical satellite images and measurements at the beach to understand the impact snow fencing and coastal grass planting had on the shoreline. Students wrote a letter for a community grant to expand dune grass populations on the beach and have set up multiple continuous investigations to monitor the impact the grass has on erosion over time. 

Another participating 4th grade teacher in Midcoast Maine, Amy Hafford, had this to say about the impact of the project:

“I have been lucky to have participated in the program for the last seven years. The iWonder program is a great way to introduce students to the citizen science process. You are supported as you develop a student-developed project and supported by real research scientists in the field as you conduct your project. I can’t explain the difference that this program has brought to our classroom as a hands-on activity.”

These are just a few examples of the incredible work iWonder teachers have done to connect their students to the world outside their classroom walls through community-based science investigations. 

Although the project will wind down, WeatherBlur / iWonder has supported vital work, which is still pressing and necessary.

To find out more about the project or opportunities to help support citizen science in Maine, contact Ian Collins (

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