Fairbanks Museum: Community of Observers

The Fairbanks Museum: Community of Observers is a citizen science based program for the state of Vermont, New Hampshire, and selective sections of New York, Massachusetts, Maine and Southern Canada. The Fairbanks Museum began approximately 120 years ago recording weather conditions fours time daily. Data collection has been expanded to include weather, flowers, butterflies and avian species. The museum aims to highlight the synchronization of weather patterns with flower blooms, butterfly and bird presence. Natural cycles of nature, natural history and identification specimens are displayed year round at the museum for public education. Wildlife and botany presence reports would not be possible without the contributions made by participating community members. Data sets are made accessible to museum members and other citizen science based data collection organizations.

Project Contact: Leila Nordmann, Director of Programs at Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium
Project Contact Email: lnordmann@fairbanksmuseum.org
Project Lifespan: 2010-present
Regional Planning Commision: None
Citizen Science, Inventory, Outreach, partnerships, wildlife
Other Keywords: Data Collection, Observation, Weather, Wildflowers, Birds, Butterflies
Project Accomplishments:

Project accomplishments include the involvement and education of community members regarding natural cycles, natural history and identification of plant and wildlife species in the northeast. The expanding contribution and cooperation with government agencies and education institutions is beneficial for scientific research in order to create long-term databases for future reference.

Project Partners:

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
North Branch Nature Center
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
Birds of Vermont Museum
Community Collaborative, Rain, Hail & Snow Network

Critical to Success:

Charlie Browne, a previous director of the Fairbanks Museum along with a select group of staff members formed and found funding for the creation of Community of Observers initiative at the museum. Browne was also very adamant and promoted community involvement to establish a solid user base.


Challenges associated with this project include the access to grant funds, marketing and communication costs, and regular users.

Project Picture: Community of Observers at Barr Hill Nature Preserve in Greensboro, VT