While not new, citizen science programs have proliferated tremendously over the past several decades. As the breadth of citizen science programs expands to monitor an increasingly diverse variety of natural resources, their representation in peer reviewed literature remains very limited. There is a conspicuous lack of research exploring how the nature of a resource, both its biophysical and human endowed qualities, shapes citizen science efforts to monitor it. Additionally, research on participant motivations has been focused on a narrow range of natural resource-based programs. Lastly, the potential to promote pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors is by far the least studied outcome of citizen science. To address these gaps in the literature, I conducted two studies. First, I constructed a framework of resource characteristics critical to the design and assessment of citizen science programs that monitor natural resources, which encompasses 4 types of characteristics: biophysical and geographical, management and monitoring, public awareness and knowledge, and social and cultural characteristics. Characteristics such as accessibility, diverse institutional involvement in resource management, and social or cultural importance of the resource affected program endurance and success. However, the relative influence of each characteristic was affected by goals of the citizen science programs. Program goals and priorities ultimately dictate program design, but for a program to endure and successfully meet its goals, program managers must consider the diverse ways that the nature of the resource being monitored influences public participation in monitoring. Second, I sought to explore common themes of participants' motivations to take part in citizen science monitoring across a range of resources, as well as to how, and to what extent, natural resource monitoring through citizen science influences participants' behavior and attitudes towards the resource being monitored, and towards the environment more generally. I present key insights from a survey of volunteers from 8 citizen science programs (N=306) on the range of participant motivations, perceptions of attitude and behavior change, and the likelihood of future involvement in protection efforts. Lastly, I discuss general trends in the profiles of those self-selecting to volunteer with citizen science, and potential implications of such trends for citizen science programs.