Citizen Science

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.

AtlasLogoPlusBlackburnianWarbler_645Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is a comprehensive field survey that documents the distribution and abundance of birds breeding in an area. The information will allow us to see changes in bird populations since the last survey and to measure future changes. These insights help us identify the conservation needs of breeding birds and try to meet those needs.

Put your love of birds to work and learn to birdwatch in a new way by closely observing bird behavior and reporting the data online. It’s easy! Sign up to observe birds near your home, your favorite birding spots, and in atlas priority blocks. Report your observations of bird behavior online using a state-of-the-art system developed by eBird. The Atlas is a volunteer effort, with birdwatchers, nature centers, nonprofit organizations and government agencies coming together in a project coordinated jointly by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. For more information, visit:

Citizen ScienceWater 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 For more information about the WAV program, visit


Midwest Crane Countbirds

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 Jim Knickelbine at For more information on the Midwest Crane Count, visit

Bat Monitoring

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 For more information on Wisconsin’s bats and bat research, visit

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