Tracking Climate in Your Backyard is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project that seeks to engage youth in real science through the collection, recording, and understanding of precipitation data in the forms of rain, hail, and snow.

The purpose of this project is to encourage youth, specifically ages 8-12, to better understand the scientific process by engaging them in the collection of meaningful meteorological data in their community. In this way, youth develop an understanding of scientific methods and standardization, and by recording and sharing their data through a citizen science project, they recognize the importance of accurate data collection. The citizen science portion of the project, CoCoRaHS, collects youth precipitation data for scientific analysis and for issuance of severe storm warnings and flash flooding events. We believe that youth knowing they are contributing data to a real, scientific cause can be extremely influential on their engagement levels.

This project is a collaboration between the Paleontological Research Institution and Museum of the Earth, who have experience in professional development and informal education, NYS 4-H, who provide an excellent outreach base and foster hands-on, experiential learning for youth, and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), who run a citizen science project to record precipitation measurements in an online database.

Some images from the second Tracking Climate in Your Backyard workshop, held in March 2010 at the Museum of the Earth, can be found here.