SuperbOwl: Image credit: Alexas_Fotos via PixabayCitizen Science SciStarter Blog Zoology 

Five Ways to Prepare for SuperbOwl Sunday


What is SuperbOwl Sunday? A great time to get involved in citizen science with this roundup of great data collection projects!

By Bob Hirshon @BobHirshon

SuperbOwl Sunday is the most exciting day of the year for owl-lovers all over the world!

This is the day when the ornithologically-inclined brave the elements to admire owls near them, photograph owls and/or, for some reason, stay indoors and watch football.

No matter who you’re hooting for this Super Bowl Sunday, you can celebrate SuperbOwls and citizen science. Get started with the projects we’ve spotlighted, below.

Cheer for science…like 49ers cheerleader Kelly!

SuperbOwl Sunday
Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Cognitive neuroscientist and San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleader Kelly has as many college degrees as the 49ers have Lombardi Trophies (that would be five, so far).

In fact, 20 of the 40 current 49ers Cheerleaders are pursuing STEM careers! Learn more about Kelly and other “Science Cheerleaders,” who have diverse interests like psychology, biology, and more. Citizen science projects that correspond to Kelly’s interests include:

  • Stall Catchers: With Stall Catchers, speed up the search for a Alzheimer’s cure by making annotations for researchers online.
  • LingoBoingo: Kelly studied Spanish as well as science, and this program lets you play language-based games that contribute to linguistics research.
  • Did You Feel It: While the West Coast is well-known for earthquakes, they occur all over the world. You can help geologists pinpoint them by joining Did You Feel It!

Get Started!

Monitor lakes in Missouri

citizen science projects
Photo courtesy of Tony Thorpe

Show your pride in the beautiful state of Missouri by participating in the Lakes of Missouri project! Collect and process lake water and share the samples with the University of Missouri Limnology Laboratory to help scientists maintain the health of Missouri’s aquatic ecosystems.

Learn more about the Chiefs’ Science Cheerleaders!

Location: Missouri

Get Started!

Study the night sky

citizen science projects
Photo by Emily Maletz (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

No matter where you are in the world, you can study the night sky. The Missouri chapter of the International Dark Sky Association recently presented a global webinar about this, explaining not only how libraries in Missouri can get involved with this program, but also how anyone can do these projects to monitor light pollution and enhance scientific understanding of the night sky. 

Location: Global

Get Started!

Bring native orchids back to Miami 

citizen science
Photo by Annca via Pixabay

This year’s Super Bowl is in Miami, which was once home to countless, beautiful, epiphytic orchids. Today, these native flowers are rare and endangered. But the Million Orchid Challenge at Fairchild Tropical Gardens hopes to bring these orchids back with the help of thousands of energetic citizen scientists across Florida. All you have to do is download the OrchidTracker App and use its map to monitor the health of orchids.

Location: Florida

Get Started!

Document a SuperbOwl near you

SuperbOwl Sunday
Photo courtesy of ArtTower via Pixabay

No SuperbOwl Sunday would be complete without participating in iNaturalist’s SuperbOwl photo challenge. Make your local owls international stars by sharing their pics on iNaturalist—a website and app that also helps scientists monitor wildlife populations. The most superb owl shots are shared on iNaturalist’s Facebook page.

Tip: Add your iNaturalist username to “Info & Settings” in your SciStarter dashboard so we can give you credit for your contributions!

Location: Global

Get Started!

RELATED: Designing Citizen Science Projects for Everyone

With citizen science, we’re all on the same SuperbOwl team

No matter who wins the Super Bowl on Sunday, we all win when we do citizen science, together. Looking for more science stories? Check out Science Connected. As always, you can find citizen science on the SciStarter blog and over 3,000 different citizen science projects and events on SciStarter.

Featured photo by Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay

About the Author

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon, President, Springtail Media LLC

Bob heads up Springtail Media, specializing in science media and digital entertainment. He is Principle Investigator for the NSF-supported National Park Science Challenge, an augmented reality adventure that takes place in National Parks. Hirshon headed up the Kinetic City family of science projects, including the Peabody Award winning children’s radio drama Kinetic City Super Crew, McGraw-Hill book series and Codie Award winning website and education program. Hirshon can be heard on XM/Sirius Radio’s Kids Place Live as “Bob the Science Slob,” sharing science news and answering children’s questions.


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