About volunteering

Get involved. Help conserve Wisconsin's rare plants.
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Observe...

some of Wisconsin's rarest plants and the habitats they are found in.

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Learn...

to use a GPS, compass and map to navigate high quality forests, prairies and wetlands.

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Botanize...

on some of the highest quality sites in Wisconsin.

Get trained first

To participate in the Rare Plant Monitoring Program you must attend one of the formal training sessions held each spring. Trained volunteers have access to precise information on rare plant locations. If you missed the training sessions you can still use the materials on this website to identify generalized rare plant locations, conduct a survey and submit data.

What you should know or have

  • A commitment to plant conservation and stewardship.
  • Ability to identify native plants in the wild and to distinguish rare plants from other co-occurring species. Additional, formal training in plant identification is a plus, but not required.
  • Ability to work independently in uneven terrain and varying weather conditions.
  • Your own transportation
  • Good observation skills and an attention to detail
  • Ability to collect scientific data and organize it for efficient reporting.
  • Good navigation skills are a plus.
  • Reliability, commitment and promptness in filing reports

Time commitment

  • Attend a required 1-day orientation and training session in the spring or early summer.
  • Complete at least one monitoring assignment annually. Completing an assignment includes:
    • Selecting a rare plant population (species and site) to survey from a list of monitoring priorities maintained by the Rare Plant Monitoring Program
    • Conducting preparatory research to determine how to access the site of the rare plant population, when the best time to monitor the population is, and what the key diagnostic features of the target species are.
    • Conducting a survey for the rare plant population. A typical survey takes about 3 hours, depending on how big the site is and your knowledge of where the target species is located.
    • Submitting a completed field data sheet and photos of the rare plant (if relocated) for each monitoring assignment within a month after the site visit is completed.

Expectations

  • Represent the Rare Plant Monitoring Program and conduct work in a professional manner.
  • Keep all information on the exact location of rare plant populations confidential.
  • Minimize your impacts to rare plant populations by removing seeds and plant materials from your clothing and shoes prior to every site visit.