American Spring Live

What is a citizen scientist?

Spring is one of nature’s greatest performances – a time of rebirth, renewed energy and dramatic transformations. For three consecutive nights, Monday, April 29 – Wednesday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. CT on PBS and Facebook, Nature: American Spring LIVE presents the change from winter to spring in real time from iconic locations across America. The series will include a mix of live and pre-taped footage highlighting some of the most pivotal events in nature’s calendar. A diverse group of researchers and citizen scientists will investigate how a wide range of organisms respond to the change of seasons. They will share their insights into the natural world, reveal new technologies that make their discoveries possible and encourage audiences to join the adventure of science.

National Citizen Scientist Partners

NET is coordinating with community organizations in order to provide science based activities and training sessions. We look forward to encouraging citizen science participation during the broadcast and beyond. There will be several opportunities to take part in citizen scientist activities—the schedule below will be updated as new activities are announced.

Upcoming Schedule of Activities

Homestead National Monument of America is hosting a special event on April 20. This free-family BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. At this special event, scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members will work together to get a snapshot of an area’s biodiversity. In addition, there will be booths, hands-on activities and crafts. There will also be three guided walks throughout the event: bird walk, plant walk, entomology walk.


This event has something for everybody so put a spring in your step and join them! Click here for a flyer on the American Spring LIVE! event at Homstead National Monument or visit their website for the full schedule.



The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is hosting the annual City Nature Challenge April 26-29, 2019. Join the Omaha-Metro Area in competing against more than 60 cities across the globe for the title of "the world's most biodiverse city" during this unique experience. As a citizen scientist you will explore the great outdoors in search of as many plant and animal species as we can spot and using mobile devices and record your findings.

This is a great family activity! Click here for more information the City Nature Challenge and Citizen Scientists training in Omaha.

Other activities for 2019 at the zoo include (all times listed are Central Time (CT):

  1. March 23 from 1pm to 3pm – The Great Sunflower Project at Wildlife Safari Park
  2. March 24 from 1pm to 3pm – Track-a-Lilac Project at Henry Doorly Zoo
  3. March 28 from 9:45am to 10:45am – Bird Cam at NET, 1800 North 33rd  with OLLI
  4. March 30 from 1pm to 3pm – Celebrate Urban Birds at Wildlife Safari Park
  5. April 12-13 from 7pm to 9am – FrogWatch USA Overnight at Wildlife Safari Park
  6. April 13 from 1pm to 3pm – SciStarter: Amphibian Conservation Education Project Wildlife Safari Park
  7. April 19-20 from 6:30pm to 8:30am – FrogWatch USA Overnight at Henry Doorly Zoo
  8. April 26 from 1pm to 3pm – Celebrate Urban Birds at Henry Doorly Zoo
  9. April 27 from 1pm to 3pm – Monarch Larva Monitoring Project at Henry Doorly Zoo
  10. April 28 from 1pm to 3pm – Track-a-Lilac Project at Henry Doorly Zoo

Ducks Unlimited bases its conservation programs on the results of scientific research and the variety of habitat waterfowl need to be healthy and reproduce. Although DU has completed a wide range of studies, there is still much to learn about how the birds respond to landscape, habitat and environmental changes. This year as a partner in American Spring LIVE! Ducks Unlimited will be focusing on the following citizen science projects:

All citizen scientist training for Ducks Unlimited will be online. Citizen Scientists will be provided the link when they volunteer. The training will take approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour. The training will be available from February 2019-June 2020. Additional information coming soon.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a membership-based lifelong learning program for adults 50 years plus. As a part of this year’s spring catalogue, OLLI will offer a non-credit course around American Spring LIVE! OLLI participants will focus on two of the featured citizen science projects. If you have interest in being a Citizen Scientist consider attending the following trainings:

  • Bird Cam Training:
    • When: March 28th starting at 9am CT
    • Where: NET Board Room
    •  Participants: MAX 25
  • Track-A-Lilac Training:
    • When: March 28th starting at 9:45am CT
    • Where: NET Board Room
    • Participants: MAX 25

Nebraska Game & Parks are hosting the following events: 

Schoolyard Bioblitz Educator Workshop
Event Location: Schramm Education Center, 21502 West Highway 31, Gretna, NE
April 27, 2019
9:00am – 12:30pm CT
Fee: Free! A park permit is required for all vehicles.
Event Description: Join Nebraska Game and Parks to learn how to bring citizen science to your classroom, after school program or nature center through the use of a Schoolyard Bioblitz. Workshop participants will learn about citizen science, tips to incorporate a bioblitz into your curriculum, training on how to use iNaturalist in the classroom and discover free resources available for schoolyard bioblitzs.
CONTACT: Alie Mayes,

Feathered Friends Hike
Event Location: Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area and Nature Center, 210615 Highway 71, Gering NE
May 18, 2019
10:00am - 11:00am MST
Fee: FREE! Park permits are not required for this event! No pre-registration required.
Event Description: Come along and celebrate free park day at the Wildcat Hills. Take part in several great activities going on throughout this day-long celebration! Join us for a bird hike at 10am MST where we will look for birds in the area. Then, we will learn how to take part in citizen science projects by entering the species we find into online citizen science databases.
All Ages; Children (must be accompanied by an adult)

Wildcat Hill Nature Center Bioblitz
Event Location: Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area and Nature Center, 210615 Highway 71, Gering NE
July 19-20, 2019
All day
Fee: Free, park entry permit is required for all vehicles. No pre-registration required.
Event Description: A bioblitz is a family fun event where participants work together with scientists to look for and record all the animals living in a certain area at a specific time. We will have all the equipment (and the expert biologists to help)… just come for a good time seeing lots of wildlife!



Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. American Spring LIVE is a production of Berman Productions, Inc. and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.

Major support for Nature: American Spring LIVE was provided by the National Science Foundation and Anne Ray Foundation.

Additional financial support was provided by the Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, the Anderson Family Fund, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, the Halmi Family in memory of Robert Halmi, Sr., Sandra Atlas Bass, Doris R. and Robert J. Thomas, Charles Rosenblum, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by the nation’s public television stations.

Local Productions

The Sound of Spring
Premiers Thursday, April 25th at 8pm (CT) on NET
For Doreen Pfost, the Platte River is a place for respite, escape, and a source of inspiration. She documented her experiences in a book and shares her reflections about the annual sandhill crane spring migration in this story.