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.
graphic showing CBM timeline

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
Volunteer in North Freedom, WI participated in the first ever Christmas Bird Count
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
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
2003
Beaver Creek Reserve breaks ground on its Citizen Science Center
2004
First WCBM Conference
WCBM Network created
DNR's Partnership Program funding begins
2009
WI Mussel Monitoring Program begins
2010
WI Bat Program monitoring begins
2012
WI Turtle Conservation Program begins
2013
WI Master Naturalist Program launches
2014
WI Rare Plant Monitoring Program begins
2015
WI Breeding Bird Atlas II begins
2016
Snapshot Wisconsin begins
2018
WI Bumble Bee Brigade begins