Son of Citizen Science

Howdy, BugFans,

From time to time, a Bonus Bug episode is necessary. The BugLady received lots of feedback to the Citizen Science BOTW, mostly along the line of “Here’s another one!” The BugLady’s main omission seems to have been that her initial offerings were invertebrate orientated (go figure!), and BugFan Tom (a herp guy), among others, mourned the lack of projects involving “bug-eaters.” This Bonus episode will partially rectify that, and add a few more (local) invertebrate opportunities. Some are actual projects; others are on-line reporting systems/nature-mapping-type sites where you can report your sightings. Thanks, BugFans!

More Invertebrates:

Wisconsin Odonata Survey

Citizen volunteers are needed because there are far too many habitats to check for the few professionals who work with Odonata. Any level of commitment on your part will be appreciated. The goal of this survey is to gain more knowledge about the distributions and habitat requirements of our 160+ species of dragonflies and damselflies (Order Odonata).

Wisconsin Butterflies

What butterflies are found in the state and where do they occur? Report your butterflying day at

Wisconsin Ephemeral Pond Project (WEPP).

The purpose of this project is to train citizens to identify, inventory, and monitor the ecology of ephemeral ponds. This project began in 2008 in Southeastern Wisconsin’s coastal counties. Adults in Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, Washington, and Walworth counties are invited to participate. A WEPP training session will be held at Riveredge Nature Center on Saturday, April 13. If you miss the training, contact Mary at or 800-287-8098.

Bug Eaters/Vertebrates:


Their motto is, “Lots of birds out there … why not count them?” Cornell University. A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution. And, you can watch Citizen Science in action! Here’s what BugFan Becca calls a time sucking link – a flash of light documents real-time checklist submissions all over the globe. Kind of like watching a fire in the fireplace. To view the map, try or visit the Explore Data page and then select < a href=””>Submission Map.

Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin (BRAW)

BRAW seeks to expand public knowledge and enthusiasm for the Eastern Bluebird so that a growing number of people will have the desire to aid cavity nesters and have the knowledge about how to best accomplish this in their own communities. For information about monitoring nest boxes, read Monitoring Bluebird Nest Boxes (PDF).

Gary Casper coordinates some herp (reptile and amphibian), breeding bird, and crayfish surveys in Wisconsin. Interested? Drop him a line.

Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program

The main goals of the WTCP are to catalog species’ statewide distributions more thoroughly and to document high turtle mortality locations along roads in order to promote effective management and conservation of Wisconsin’s 11 turtle species. The WTCP was initiated in response to the increasing trend in highway collisions of migrating turtles and vehicles.

Amphibian Tracker

Amphibian Tracker 2016

“Many species face uncertain fates under climate change. Some will persist by shifting their range or adapting to local conditions, whereas others will be lost to extinction. Efforts to lessen the impacts of climate change on biodiversity depend on accurate forecasts. We include dates of the annual migration of wood frogs, spotted salamanders, spring peepers and chorus frogs to their breeding ponds.”

Two Mega-Sites:


“Science we can do together.” The Mother of all project sites; you can Pick an Activity, Pick a Topic, or type “Wisconsin” into the key words box if you want to stay local.

Citizen Science Central

Another huge site, and not limited to birds. “Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research … this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.”

And a Few on Plants:

Project BudBurst

Every plant tells a story. Whether you have an afternoon, a few weeks, a season, or a whole year, you can make an important contribution to a better understanding of changing climates. Project BudBurst is a network of people across the United States who monitor plants as the seasons change and submit ecological data based on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants.

The Goldenrod Challenge

The Goldenrod Challenge is a fall program that is a part of Discover Life’s Macrosystems Research to understand the impact of climate change, invasive species, and other factors on the distribution, abundance, and interactions of pollinators, plants, and other organisms across the continent. The challenge is simple—can you, or your team, photograph more species associated with goldenrods than your competitors? All ages and all levels of experience are welcome to join in the fun each fall during goldenrod season.

As the BugLady used to say to her children, “Anyone who says they’re bored will get a cleaning implement put into their hands.”

And, as she also used to say—Go outside.

The BugLady