Course Meeting Times

Four sessions held across 3 weeks.

Lectures / discussion: 2 sessions, 2 hours / session

Makerspace Hands-on: 1 session, 4 hours

Field Hands-on: 1 session, 2 groups, 1.5 hours / group

Course Overview

Put citizen science into action to tackle climate change! This course explores approaches to applying scientific data and new technologies toward climate-related research needs, community risks, and policy actions. Natural gas leaks (a major source of methane emissions) will be a particular focus. Through in-class lectures and discussion, a “maker”-style activity and a data collection field trip, participants will learn about effective science-based community action and practice putting that knowledge into action themselves.


This non-credit course has no prerequisites. Problem solvers of all backgrounds and experience levels are welcome. Just bring a passion for changing the world for the better and an eagerness to roll up your sleeves.


1 Lecture / discussion (2 hours) Introduction to citizen / community science networks in operation, including Public Lab; future of community science for climate action. Discuss some relevant field examples.
2 Makerspace Hands-on (4 hours) Tools to visualize & verify: A mini-hackathon on data collection and data visualization, and a hands-on introduction to the tools for live data collection of methane gas leaks. Details on the history of natural gas infrastructure nationally and in Boston area.
3 Field Hands-on (2 x 1.5 hours) Methane leak “safari”: A field trip to collect live data on methane leaks in the natural gas infrastructure, using a van equipped for mobile GPS-linked monitoring and a handheld probe for up-close investigation.
4 Lecture / discussion (2 hours) Discuss the ways data can inform public decision-making: Using citizen data in legal cases, and the challenges and promise of sustainability footprints. Debrief of methane leak data collected on the prior field trip.
Learning Resource Types
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Lecture Notes