2016 Conference Home : Agenda : Presentations : Awards : Evaluation

2016 Citizen-based Monitoring Awards

Milwaukee County Parks Natural Areas Program
Citizen-based Monitoring Program of the Year
Milwaukee County Parks representative
accepting the award
In 2014, the Milwaukee County Parks Natural Areas Program inventoried and documented 430 ephemeral ponds through their Ephemeral Pond Inventory Project, and with funding from the Citizen-based Monitoring Partnership Program, they expanded their CBM efforts in 2015 by conducting aquatic funnel trapping in the newly documented ephemeral ponds. Through the spring and summer of 2015, 42 citizen monitors volunteered a total of 625 hours. Volunteers confirmed populations of tiger and blue-spotted salamanders, discovered the first spotted salamander documented in their county since 1935, and found a new population of wood frogs and three new populations of Wisconsin's rarest native crayfish, the Digger's crayfish. This wealth of data is being incorporated into the program's ecological restoration and management plans.

Ben Johnston
Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring
Ben Johnston
Ben has single-handedly made the Kickapoo Valley Reserve a stronghold for acoustic bat survey activity over the past few years, averaging over 30 surveys a year. Beyond his affinity for evening walks with a bat detector in his hand, He has become an advocate to educate and engage citizens in southwest Wisconsin to care more about their environment and to help participate in citizen-based monitoring projects. He has recruited countless volunteers in the region for bat surveys, turtle road crossing reports, and frog and toad surveys. Without the aid of his enthusiasm and determination, southwest Wisconsin would still be in the grassroots stage of citizen-based monitoring; however, because of his efforts, they are part of the forefront of the movement.

Nancy Carlson
Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring
Nancy Calson
Nancy created the WATERshed program for the Racine Unified School District. Her program has helped more than 3,000 Racine 4th and 7th graders understand how their daily activities impact the Root River and Lake Michigan watershed. Every fall the 4th graders spend a day at the Root River Environmental Education Community Center, where they discover what's going down storm drains and how it travels to the rivers and lakes from their neighborhoods, as well as the species that act as indicators of water quality. Every spring, the 7th graders assess conditions of the lake shore and of a newly created lake wetland. Both grades conduct scientific tests for pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, and bacteria. 7th graders also learn how the wetland improves water quality in the lake as well as providing habitat for birds, insects and small mammals. These students grow up to become more knowledgeable citizens who understand the impact of healthy watersheds for our community, and advocates for the health of aquatic ecosystems.

Anne Kretschmann
Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring
Anne Kretschmann
Anne initiated the first citizen-based lake level monitoring program in Wisconsin in 2008. Since its inception, the lake level monitoring program has grown to more than 40 lakes across Vilas County and has retained nearly 100% of its volunteers over the past 8 years. Soon after establishing this program, she coordinated a companion program with the Lac du Flambeau tribe which now has citizen lake monitors on an additional suite of lakes. The data collected by her programs are now entered into the SWIMS database in Madison, which did not routinely track water levels in Wisconsin lakes. She also developed a set of written protocols to guide the development of citizen lake level monitoring programs in other parts of Wisconsin, which formed the basis for DNR's current statewide lake level monitoring protocol.

Amber H. Van Den Heuvel
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Monitoring
Amber Van Den Heuvel
Amber has been a committed citizen science for the past five years. She first participated in citizen-based monitoring in 8th grade when she began monitoring amphibians at Oconto Marsh while volunteering for Bird Studies Canada's Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program. As a high school freshman, she became the Oconto County Crane Count Coordinator for the Midwest Crane Count and is still strongly committed today as a senior, even intending to continue her coordinator duties throughout college. She has, for the last 4 years, monitored 18 bluebird boxes, and she also helps monitor wood duck and purple martin houses for Bird City Oconto. In addition, Amber has participated in the Wisconsin Bat Monitoring Program’s acoustic monitoring, as well as botulism monitoring along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Kris Stepenuck
David N. Redell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring
Kris Stepenuck
For 14 years, Kris coordinated the Water Action Volunteer program (WAV), greatly increasing its size and scope. In conjunction with WAV, she developed a curriculum for middle and high school teachers to use when doing stream monitoring with their students. She served for many years on the advisory council of the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network. Her published research includes papers on citizen science volunteering and project outcomes, and she has also been involved in citizen-based water monitoring endeavors at the national level. She earned her MS in Natural Resources from UW-Stevens Point and her PhD in Environment and Resources from UW-Madison. Kris serves on the board of the Citizen Science Association and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont.

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