Many of us are “wowed” by the stunning photographs and articles in glossy magazines like National Geographic. We look up to the writers and photographers who travel around the world to exotic locations and bring back breath-taking accounts of their exploits. Most of us do not and will never have a job that allows us to travel the world to document and write awesome stories, but as scientists doing science outside, we have the unique opportunity to spend time in beautiful natural habitats in a different capacity. Our passion for our fields of science drives us to work long hours in harsh weather at remote locations for months on end. Along the way we may have wondrous experiences with animals, people, and technology, that range from the silly to the life-altering.
Yet, none of these experiences find space in the annals of scientific journals where we publish our findings, and most of these stories go untold and unheard. But these are the experiences that often make the day-to-day life of an outdoor scientist worthwhile. We want these stories to be heard and shared.
Going on adventures in natural habitats is hardly restricted to field scientists. Thousands of well-read and well-informed eco-tourists and citizen scientists travel to the ends of the earth to experience nature. Some might trek to sweltering rainforests, others shiver as they watch the aurora, but plenty take pleasure in watching beetles in their backyard with a magnifying glass. This is what citizen science is all about. Citizen scientists are regular people with an interest in science that don’t get paid to do research, but often make incredible observations and photograph rare organisms and interesting behaviors. Other than making it onto personal blogs, these observations rarely reach the public. We want to encourage citizen scientists to reflect more closely on their own experiences while simultaneously encouraging others to record their own stories in more detail.
Through this website, we hope to bring together professional scientists and citizen scientists in an effort to celebrate time spent in the outdoors. We seek to curate and share stories and photos that reveal everything from passion to perspiration and, more importantly, moments of inspiration. Through these efforts, we hope to make scientists more relatable to the general public and prompt the general public to be a little more scientific.
We hope you’ll join us.
-The Science Outside team
Photo by Joe Welklin