DNR encourages state residents to volunteer as ‘citizen scientists’

Volunteers can count cranes, listen for frogs, whip-poor-wills and owls, search for freshwater mussels and rare plants, monitor monarchs and water quality and join in a host of other efforts underway to collect information about Wisconsin’s wildlife, plants and waters.

Wisconsin citizen scientists have many ways to get involved monitoring the state’s natural resources.

April 16 marks the inaugural National Citizen Science Day and the Department of Natural Resources and other organizations are already busy recruiting volunteers to help gather information aimed at better understanding, protecting and managing Wisconsin’s natural resources.

“Wisconsin is a national leader in citizen science and there are volunteer opportunities for people of all interests and skill sets,” said Eva Lewandowski, who coordinates the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network for the Department of Natural Resources.

“No matter what you like to do or know how to do, you can contribute to science and the management of our natural heritage in Wisconsin.”

Here are just a few of those volunteer opportunities:

The Annual Midwest Crane Count, one of the oldest citizen science efforts inthe region and set for April 16 this year, is still looking for surveyorsfor some sites.

The Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey is still seeking volunteers who are willing to spend time listeningin their local wetlands for frogs.

The Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program will hold training sessions in Mayfor volunteers who want to help survey specific sites for rare plantspecies.

The Wisconsin Marsh bird and Wisconsin Nightjar surveys will soon be seeking volunteers to sign up for routes.

The Wisconsin Bat Monitoring Project is looking for volunteers to monitor bat roosts and/or drive or paddle along routes using special equipment to detect bats.

The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas is seeking volunteers to help document the abundance and location of Wisconsin birds. Survey a pre-determined block of land or report the breeding birds you see while you are out enjoying Wisconsin’s great outdoors.

To find more opportunities, visit the “Who’s Who” section of the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network website, a gateway page to find statewide DNR surveys to participate in and to get connected to more than 150 organizations involved in citizen-based monitoring.

DNR and organizations with monitoring programs formed the network in 2004 to improve their effectiveness by providing communications, resources and recognition.

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