March 9-24, 2018

Be a Citizen Scientist

Bring Your Own Soil to the 3/26 Expo

Atlanta Science Festival is partnering with SciStarter, YLACES, GLOBE, Captain Planet Foundation, and NASA to recruit participation in a citizen science project to validate satellite measurements of soil moisture with on-the-ground measurements taken by everyday citizens. 



We need YOU to help advance science! Classrooms, after-school groups, youth programs, and families can join a global effort to measure the moisture in our soil and contribute to scientific knowledge.  

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite measures soil moisture from space. Meanwhile, on the ground, we have the opportunity to get our hands dirty, take soil samples, and measure the soil moisture content to help calibrate and validate the satellite's data. Our data will help to better understand and protect our planet's health! SMAP will help improve weather forecasts, monitor droughts, predict floods, assist crop productivity, and detail water, energy, and carbon cycles. Learn more about why it matters.



  1. Get equipment and training. A short description of what would be required of a student or group can be found on the Scistarter project page. All you need to get started is to register for a training session (see below for options), gather the required equipment, begin taking measurements and entering your data on All of the sampling and drying materials can be purchased for around $150 total. But thanks to our friends at YLACES, we have a limited number of free kits available to those educators or youth program leaders who attend one of our in-person trainings and agree to supervise a group of students or others in data collection.
  2. Collect and report your data. We are hoping to get as many measurements as possible this spring, so sign up now and get started ASAP!
  3. Learn more! Explore additional background material and classroom resources.
  4. Bring Your Own Soil. In addition to collecting and reporting your own data throughout the spring, you can be part of our huge community-wide data collection effort on Saturday, March 26 at the Atlanta Science Festival's Exploration Expo at Centennial Olympic Park. Visit our exhibit booth where we will demonstrate sampling techniques, display results already obtained, and recruit new participants. We invite you to participate by following the Bring Your Own Soil protocol. We will measure your samples' moisture content and log the data for you. Help us reach our goal to recruit 50 sites to collect data in Georgia.



  1. In-person. Register for one of the free in-person training sessions and receive a free equipment kit (first-come, first-served):
    • March 12, 9-11am at Emory University, 401 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322.
    • March 19, 9am-12pm at Captain Planet Foundation, 133 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30303.
  2. Online. Register for one of Scistarter's free online trainings.