citizen science

Monitoring Alaskan Bats in the Tongass National Forest

The sun has finally set in Ketchikan, located around 300 miles south of Juneau, Alaska. Engines rumble as volunteers begin their journey deep into the Tongass National Forest. Equipped with a bat detector and a specialized microphone on the roof of their car, the volunteers traverse a 30-mile stretch at 20 miles per hour in the hope of recording bat calls, which will help determine where they roost, migrate, and hibernate.

Pond Watch: Migratory Dragonfly Monitoring

About

Although it spans three countries and has been documented since the 1880s, North American dragonfly migration is still poorly understood and much remains to be learned about migratory cues, flight pathways, and the southern limits of overwintering grounds. The Migratory Dragonfly Pond Watch Project is an international effort by citizen scientists to help monitor the presence, emergence, and behaviors of five migratory dragonfly species. When gathered across a wide geographic range and throughout a span of years, these data will provide answers to questions about which species are regular migrants; the frequency and timing of migration in different species; sources, routes, and destinations of migrants; and patterns of reproduction, emergence, and movements among migratory dragonflies along their flight paths.

The Forest Service Wings Across the Americas program assists in research, conservation management and capacity building to maintain healthy ecosystems here at home and outside the US. Investing in international conservation protects our investments here at home, reduces the risk of increasing endangered species, builds scientific knowledge and creates a cadre of trained scientists and managers to bring about positive conservation action. You too, can help us to conserve birds, bats, and insects by sharing what you observe.

 

Location

International: Mexico, Canada 

 

Partners

The Xerces Society 

Migratory Dragonfly Partnership

 

Accepting Participants

Yes, this project is accepting volunteers

 

How To Get Involved

Visit the MDP website and log in as a new user. Download a PDF of the MDP Monitoring Protocols manual, register your pond as a Pond Watch site, and start reporting your observations.

 

Participant Requirements

This project is open to all ages. Anyone willing to learn the 5 main migratory dragonfly species in North America can participate.

 

Participant Tasks

  • Annotation
  • Data entry
  • Identification
  • Photography
  • Site selection and/or description  

By visiting the same wetland or pond site on a regular basis, participants will note the arrival of migrant dragonflies moving south in the fall or north in the spring, as well as any additional behaviors observed in a migratory flight including feeding or mating. Photos or videos are strongly encouraged to aid in identification.

Christmas Bird Count: Orilla Verde

About

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the oldest citizen-based bird conservation effort in the Western Hemisphere. Each year, between December 14 and January 5, more than 55,000 volunteers count more than 60 million birds. There are more than 2000 count sites, each within a 15-mile diameter circle. This particular site is in the Dixon/Pilar/Taos area in New Mexico. The regional project has been ongoing since November 2000 and welcomes all ages of volunteers interested in learning about birds. The project is meant to protect species and further research by managing species or sites, monitoring baseline conditions, understanding natural systems, and gathering or classifying data  

 

Location

Carson National Forest 

Dixon/Pilar/Taos area in New Mexico

 

Partners

Rio Embudo Birds

National Audubon Society

 

Accepting Participants

This project is accepting volunteers. The count date is typically mid-December. We meet at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center in Pilar, NM, promptly at 7:45 a.m. Contact Steve Knox to participate.

 

Participant Requirements

  • All ages
  • Must be willing to get up in a cold, December morning before sunrise
  • Beginners are welcomed. Less experienced birders are matched up with more experienced birders
 

Participant Tasks

Counting and identifying bird species with binoculars (some are available on site). Volunteers are divided into five or six groups. Each group has a leader who is capable of identifying every bird in the area by sight and most by sound. Starting at 8:00 am, each group follows a specified route, sometimes driving, sometimes walking. Every bird that is seen is identified and counted. This continues until about 5:00 pm.

Christmas Bird Count: Fajardo area

About

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the oldest citizen-based bird conservation effort in the Western Hemisphere. Each year, between December 14 and January 5, more than 55,000 volunteers count more than 60 million birds. There are more than 2000 count sites, each within a 15-mile diameter circle.

This particular site is in the Fajardo area, Puerto Rico. The regional project welcomes all ages of volunteers interested in learning about birds. The project is meant to protect species and further research by managing species or sites, monitoring baseline conditions, understanding natural systems, and gathering or classifying data  

 

Location

Fajardo area, Puerto Rico, El Yunque National Forest, Luquillo Experimental Forest, and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry 

 

Partners

Sierra Club

National Audubon Society

Fideicomiso de Conservacion de Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Ornithological Society

 

Accepting Participants

This project is recruiting volunteers. Contact Joseph M. Wunderle. On the start date, meet at 5:30 am on rte 191 and intersection rte 988 in front of Catalina Service Center of US Forest Service, just after the enterance to the El Yunque National Forest.

 

Participant Requirements

All ages

 

Participation Tasks

Classification and tagging

Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership (GAPP)

About

Populations of pollinators like birds, bats, bees, and butterflies are declining, especially in and around cities. Help pollinators bounce back by growing pollinator-friendly sites in the Greater Atlanta Area. Learn how to grow your pollinator garden by visiting the GAPP website and post the location of your garden on the GAPP map.

 

Location

Greater Atlanta Area, GA

 

Partners

Georgia State University

National Wildlife Federation

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Truly Living

 

Accepting Participants

This project is accepting volunteers. Register your pollinator garden on the gapp website.

 

Participant Age

All ages

 

Participant Tasks

Gardening, data entry

Kaibab National Forest 2017 Citizen Science Project

About

This projects asks you to document as many flora and fauna as possible during the 2017 calendar year. Visitors can snap photos of plants and animals as they enjoy the Forest, and upload those photos and their locations to iNaturalist, a free app that documents observations of living things all over the world. After it’s uploaded, a community of experts, including Forest Service staff, can help identify what was captured in the picture. The Forest Service will use this information for education materials and to help identify management issues, such as invasive plants.

 

Location

Kaibab National Forest

 

Partners

iNaturalist

 

Not Accepting Participants

This project is closed. To find similar Forest Service projects near you, visit the iNaturalist website. See what the volunteers found by visiting the Kaibab Citizen Science Project page.

 

Participant Age

All ages

 

Participant Tasks

  • Observe botany and wildlife
  • Photography or audio

Cascades Butterfly Project

About

Butterflies are sensitive indicators of changing environmental conditions because temperature influences the timing of an individual's life cycle and the geographic distribution of a species. The Cascade Butterfly Project has volunteers monitor the baseline butterfly habitat conditions to learn how climate is affecting their populations.

 

Location

There are four sites in Washington state: North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and the Okanagan-Wenatchee National Forest. The project is also active in two areas of British Columbia: Skagit and Manning Provincial Parks.

 

Partners

 

Accepting Participants

This project is accepting volunteers. To get started, check out the Cascade Butterfly Volunteer FAQ and the Cascade Butterfly Volunteer Application. See Related Content on the left for additional resources.

Contact Regina Rochefort to choose a survey route and a start date. You will be signed up as a volunteer by completing a sign-up sheet and can do this either at the training or your first day of volunteering.

 

Participant Requirements

All ages

 

Participant Tasks

  • Catch and release butterflies
  • Identify butterflies and plants
  • Photography
  • Data entry
  • Geolocation