Citizen Science RESOURCES:
The web offers great opportunities for amateurs to do valuable science. Recently the National Phenology Network, founded in 2007, reached a landmark one million observations recorded on hundreds of species. (Phenology is the study of the life cycles of plants and animals and the effects of year-to-year and seasonal variations.)
You may already be familiar with Cornell Ornithology Lab's National Backyard Bird Count or their Project FeederWatch, two of the premiere examples of successful Citizen Science. Check out their Citizen Science page here.
Do your bit for bumblebees: when you see one, grab a photo and post it to bumblebeewatch.org.
Trying to identify caterpillars, moths, or butterflies? (It's not easy! There are more than 10,000 species in the Northeast.) The experts at butterfliesandmoths.org will help you, and you'll help them by building their database.
You can report earthquake data (hey! it's already happened!) to the Department of the Interior here. You can also view others' reports.
On a higher level the net has provided amateur weather observers a unique opportunity to share information. Weather Underground (wunderground.com) is the central clearing house. Founded in 1995 as an offshoot of the University of Michigan's weather service, the company was acquired in mid-2012 by commercial leader Weather.com, but so far has maintained its integrity. At last count more than 20 amateur weather stations in the Peconic area were reporting to Wunderground, mostly in real time. Comparing the data is a great way to understand our local microclimates.
The bible for amateur scientists has long been Science News, the magazine of the Society for Science and the Public Interest. This biweekly publication has been a leader in print-web integration. The website (sciencenews.org) is a major informational resource.
Finally, Long Island Nature Organization has recently been founded to provide a local web-based clearing house for information on Long Island's flora and fauna sourced from both leading naturalists like John Turner and Mike Bottini and the rapidly growing network of amateur naturalists on Long Island. Check it out: LongIslandNature.org. For announcements of developments at LINO subscribe to the Peconic.org mailing list.