Citizen science is a term used for projects in which individual volunteers or networks of volunteers, many of whom may have no previous scientific training, perform research-related tasks such as observation, measurement or computation. The use of citizen-science networks allows scientists to accomplish research objectives that might not otherwise be possible. In addition, these projects promote public engagement with the research, as well as with science in general.
Woodland Dunes is involved in a number of citizen science projects. These projects are great learning opportunities for individuals and families alike.
Water Action Volunteers River Monitoring Project
Water Action Volunteers (WAV) is a statewide program for Wisconsin citizens who want to learn about and improve the quality of Wisconsin’s streams and rivers. Woodland Dunes coordinates this effort on parts of the East and West Twin Rivers that flow through Kewaunee and Manitowoc Counties. Monitoring involves monthly trips (April-November) to a designated location along the river where a variety of tests are performed and recorded. Woodland Dunes will provide you with all the equipment and instruction needed to participate in this program. Your data becomes part of a statewide database. If you are interested in volunteering as a WAV monitor, please contact Wendy Lutzke at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the WAV program, visit http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/wav/
Midwest Crane Count
The Annual Midwest Crane Count is a tradition dating back to 1976. It is one of the largest citizen-based inventories in the world. One of the primary purposes of the Crane Count is to allow the International Crane Foundation to monitor the abundance and distribution of cranes in the Upper-Midwest. In the 1930s, an estimated 25 pairs of Sandhill Cranes resided in Wisconsin. In 2000, the count tallied more than 13,000 Sandhill Cranes.
The count takes place on the third Saturday in April between 5:30-7:30 a.m. and involves over 3,000 volunteers spread over 100 counties in five states. If you are interested in getting involved contact Jessica Johnsrud at email@example.com. For more information on the Midwest Crane Count, visit https://www.savingcranes.org/annual-midwest-crane-count.html
With the threat of white-nose syndrome, a devastating fungal infection, it is important to gain a better understanding of bat populations. Partnering with the Wisconsin DNR, Woodland Dunes is gathering information on bat populations using an Anabat detector. This hand-held device can identify bat species by detecting and analyzing their echolocation calls. Citizen scientists hold the monitor and GPS unit as they walk a pre-determined route and the information is saved on the monitor. Monitoring takes place between April 1st and September 30th. If you are interested in volunteering as a bat monitor, please attend a volunteer training or contact Jessica Johnsrud at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Wisconsin’s bats and bat research, visit http://wiatri.net/inventory/bats/
Chimney Swift Monitoring
Aerial insectivores are on the decline and that includes our acrobatic Chimney swift. Please join us in the fall, late August-early September, for Swift Night Out when we look for roosting swifts in local chimneys. Be part of an international effort to preserve this mysterious and valuable bird that depends on our chimneys for both nesting in the spring and then roosting before migrating south. For more information, contact Nancy Nabak at: email@example.com and Wisconsin Chimney swift Working Group:https://www.wiswifts.org/
Other Bird Monitoring Opportunities
Woodland Dunes monitors bird populations in and near the preserve, especially during nesting and migration seasons. If you are a birder and would like to help, contact Jim Knickelbine at firstname.lastname@example.org