WCBM at 15 was featured in the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine! Read the full article.

Explore Our History with WCBM at 15

The Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network was formed in 2004, but our state’s tradition of volunteers partnering with professionals to study our natural resources started long before then and has continued to expand over the last 15 years. Check out the timeline of important events in Wisconsin citizen-based monitoring and share your own event for our extended list. Share your monitoring memories on social media with the hashtag #WCBMat15.

History of Citizen-based Monitoring in Wisconsin – Extended Timeline

Do you have a noteworthy event you’d like us to add to our extended timeline below, such as the creation of a new project, the formation of a new group, or a major monitoring success story? Fill out this form to have your project added to the timeline.

1900
A volunteer in North Freedom, WI participated in the first ever Christmas Bird Count.
1939
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology is formed.
1956
WI volunteers begin tracking the monarch migration.
1966
WI volunteers participate in the first ever Breeding Bird Survey.
1969
Riveredge Nature Center begins its CBM programming.
1976
The Annual Midwest Crane Count is launched in WI.
1978
LoonWatch begins.
1978
Racine County Coastwatchers began monitoring bluff erosion along Lake Michigan’s coast.
1981
WI Frog and Toad Survey begins.
1986
Citizen Lake Monitoring Network begins.
1991
Community members lay the foundation for what later becomes the Urban Ecology Center in Riverside Park, Milwaukee.
1995
Volunteer Carnivore Tracking Program begins.
First WI Breeding Bird Atlas begins.
1996
Water Action Volunteers stream monitoring begins.
WI volunteers participate in the first year of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project.
1999
North Lakeland Discovery Center begins citizen-based monitoring programming.
2002
Wisconsin Odonata Survey launches statewide.
2003
Beaver Creek Reserve breaks ground on its Citizen Science Center.
2004
The first WCBM Conference takes place.
WCBM Network created.
DNR's Partnership Program funding begins.
Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited starts its River Keeper stream monitoring program.
2009
Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey begins.
2009
WI Mussel Monitoring Program begins.
2010
WI Bat Program monitoring begins.
2012
WI Turtle Conservation Program begins.
Wisconsin Dragonfly Society is founded.
2013
WI Master Naturalist Program launches.
2014
WI Rare Plant Monitoring Program begins.
Wisconsin First Detector Network begins.
2015
WI Breeding Bird Atlas II begins.
2016
Snapshot Wisconsin begins.
2018
WI Bumble Bee Brigade begins.
Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited creates watershed level focus for Green Lake, monitoring all 8 streams that feed into it.
2019
Journey North, one of the largest citizen science projects in North America, moves to the UW-Madison Arboretum.
Waukesha County Parks and Land Use launches "Wild in Waukesha", a citizen-based wildlife monitoring initiative including ephemeral wetlands, birds, bats, small mammals, and pollinators.