2008 Citizen-based Monitoring Awards
Beaver Creek Reserve
Citizen-based Monitoring Program of the YearIn 2008, Beaver Creek Reserve Citizen Science Center (CSC) staff and volunteers put in over 1,800 hours monitoring aquatic invasive species and educating boaters in west central Wisconsin about how to prevent the spread of invasive species. The CSC received a grant to expand this important program to a six county area in 2009.
CSC staff assisted numerous area organizations in developing the first Lake Fair at Lake Wissota State Park, which provided an opportunity for several hundred people to learn about lake issues. CSC staff and volunteers also monitored 12 wells and took water samples for nutrient testing in response to dredging activities on Lake Altoona, showing the responsiveness of the CSC to developing issues and dedication to local conservation efforts.
The CSC has partnered with the DNR since 2003 to develop and promote the NatureMapping Program. This year the CSC provided NatureMapping training for teachers in Rhinelander, the Chippewa Valley and Stanley-Boyd, for students at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Oshkosh, and others. A student volunteer from Wildlands Charter School helped create a series of online training videos for Wisconsin NatureMapping, which allows individuals to learn how to map wildlife observations without having to attend a training workshop. Additionally, 10 CSC volunteers were trained by folks from the National Institute for Invasive Species Science (NIISS) to identify terrestrial invasive plants and enter data in a national invasive species database. They have also worked on stream monitoring projects, the Wild Lakes BioBlitz Pilot, Worm Watch, the Lake Wissota Aquatic Plant Management Plan, the Acoustic Bat Monitoring Project and more. Even these projects, which are merely mentioned here, are significant accomplishments and could take paragraphs to fully describe.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Citizen-Based Monitoring Network would like to recognize and thank Beaver Creek Reserve, the Citizen Science Center and all the staff and volunteers who contributed so much to resource monitoring in Wisconsin in 2008.
Outstanding Achievements in Citizen-based MonitoringMike Reese received an award for Outstanding Achievements in Citizen-based Monitoring for his remarkable efforts to generate citizen science data on butterflies statewide. Primarily, Mike is receiving this award for his website wisconsinbutterflies.org. The website provides a guide to butterfly species and online butterfly reporting. Anyone can see what has been reported and the photos that have been submitted. This provides unprecedented real-time quantitative information on species distribution, abundance, flight periods and broods. The information on this website provides a day-by-day record of butterfly populations across Wisconsin. The website has been running for 5 years with the online reporting now at the end of its 4th year. In 2007, the site recorded 550 reports from 195 contributors involving 3,300 observations of 130 species. Unlike other more limited sources of butterfly data, this website collects data on all our species, whether very rare or abundant. Mike also makes the online information available in a booklet containing the year's data for each species (88 pages in 2007).
In addition to all of Mike's work on the Wisconsin Butterfly website, he also is involved in the following volunteer-based activities:
- Provided the photos for the field guide, "Damselflies of the North Woods" by Bob DuBois;
- Co-authored the "Butterflies of Pheasant Branch Conservancy" checklist along with Dreux Watermolen;
- Currently creating an online butterfly identification course;
- Editor of the "Fourth of July" Butterfly Counts for the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) for Wisconsin and Minnesota;
- Writes a column on North American butterflies for American Butterflies the Quarterly journal of NABA; and
- Provides overall butterfly information for the web site of the U.S. Geological Survey.
Outstanding Achievements in Citizen-based MonitoringAlycia received this award for her great dedication not only to the resources we monitor, but also to the people who monitor the resources. Alycia came to WI from the team at Colorado State University that put together the National Institute for Invasive Species Science (NIISS). She came to get a PhD at the UW-Madison in the Botany Program where she had funding to determine ways to get citizens involved in invasive species inventory, monitoring and mapping. She introduced many people and organizations to the NIISS system and has trained many groups on how to set up their own invasives monitoring project and take part in those of others. A good example of this is the Worm Watch project that Univ. of Minnesota earthworm researchers have set up through the NIISS system. Also, Wisconsin's early detection invasive plant program, has all of its weed-watcher data going into NIISS as a database and mapping tool.
Alycia shows a particular knack for uniting interests in the natural history and field science with the coordinated databases that are the mainstay of current research into invasive species spread. She is also working on projects that compare citizen monitors to "experts" to discover if there is any difference in the quality of data that these two sources provide.
Outstanding Achievements in Citizen-based Monitoring
Andria Blattner completed a bat survey training session at the UW Arboretum in May 2008, and subsequently became a leading volunteer for Wisconsin's newly formed, citizen-based, bat monitoring project. Andria conducted sixteen night-time surveys in three counties on both land and water, and also two bat survey routes as part of the Dane County Chain-of-Lakes Bat Survey. She encouraged friends to join her and taught them how to conduct these surveys. Only weather and the availability of survey equipment kept Andria from doing even more surveys. Her enthusiastic support and interest in the project is worthy of recognition as it is folks like Andria who will make the bat monitoring project both possible and a success in Wisconsin!
Outstanding Achievements in Citizen-based MonitoringJennifer received this award for her work on various monitoring projects at the Urban Ecology Center. Currently, the Urban Ecology Center is running about a dozen citizen-based monitoring projects. Jennifer has not only volunteered for every single one of these projects, she has taken a leading role in three of them.
For the third year in a row, she has taken the leading role in the small-mammal monitoring project. In addition to baseline monitoring she has incorporated additional side projects, while coordinating volunteers as a volunteer herself and bringing the project to local schools through outreach.
This is also her third year of taking a leading role in the migratory bird monitoring project. She has become skilled in every aspect of the project from bird handling to extraction from mist-nets to sampling blood to training new volunteers, which the project brings in on a regular basis.
Finally, the third project she has taken a lead role in is co-primary investigator in monitoring turtles along the Milwaukee River. Jennifer has spent countless hours setting and checking traps, doing visual surveys by canoe and by foot, and helping to organize volunteer participation.
This year alone she logged more than 500 hours of her time to these projects, and over the past three years she has given more than 1200 hours of her time. This is an amazing feat just by itself but becomes even more special given that she also works full-time as a professional dance instructor.
Community GroundWorks at Troy Gardens & Monona Grove Alternative School
Outstanding Achievements in Youth MonitoringTroy Gardens and Monona Grove Alternative School formed a new partnership this past year to monitor and control invasive reed canary grass on a tallgrass prairie at Troy Gardens. Maury Smith from Monona Grove School and Christie Ralston from Troy Gardens are co-organizing the effort.
Twenty-two students are working together to develop a monitoring plan, set up test plots, and implement a management plan. Students apply different treatments to plots including close mowing, removing seed heads, digging grass out, covering with black plastic, wood chips, and planting competing species. All the data collected will be analyzed by the students and presented in a final report that will result in a management plan. The final report will be presented to the Troy Garden staff and board members. In addition to the presentation, students will report their results to their peers through creating radio, TV, and internet-delivered reports.
This project is receiving the youth monitoring award for not only their outstanding monitoring efforts but for setting a model example of how students can participate in a community project while at the same time learning new skills that satisfy and compliment course curriculum.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Citizen-based Monitoring EffortsThe "Citizen-Based Monitoring Award for Lifetime Achievement" was initiated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 2005 to recognize substantial, long-term contributions by the public in monitoring Wisconsin's natural resources.
The sole recipient for 2008 and 3rd ever, is Eugene Jacobs, Director of the Linwood Springs Research Station, for a lifetime of achievement in raptor research, monitoring and education.
Gene Jacobs is one of the most notable figures in Wisconsin raptor research today. Gene started monitoring red-shouldered hawks in Green Bay in 1972 and has continued the project in Stevens Point since 1975, totally 37 years to date which is the longest ongoing red-shouldered hawk study in North America.
In 1988 Gene started research projects on breeding sharp-shinned hawks and migrant saw-whet owls, both of which continue today as well. Gene and his volunteers have captured and banded over 10,000 saw-whet owls, leading to 250 band recoveries ranging from Manitoba to New Jersey and Tennessee. Gene has author or co-authored 11 peer-reviewed articles on American kestrels, red-shouldered hawks, saw-whet owls, and raptor field techniques.
As significant as these accomplishments have been, perhaps the longest lasting contribution Gene has made to citizen-based monitoring has been through his outstanding education and training programs. Since 1988, Gene has trained and provided significant hands on experience to 12 interns, 135 dedicated volunteers, 125 workshop students and approximately 3,000 people who have attended his owl programs, all in his modest basement office!
Few private researchers have shown the incredible dedication and level of accomplishment that Eugene Jacobs has in the past 30 years, so it is with sincere gratitude and respect that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Citizen-Based Monitoring Network of Wisconsin recognize his lifetime of achievement.
Special RecognitionAngela Engelman, our Citizen-Based Monitoring Program Coordinator in 2007-08, received a plaque and a standing ovation at the 2008 awards banquet in recognition for her leadership, dedication and outstanding service to the people in the Citizen-Based Monitoring Network of Wisconsin. Thank you Angela!