Series: Civic Science In Wisconsin

The pursuit of knowledge about Wisconsin's flora and fauna is not just the province of professional researchers. Public participation in science has woven itself into Wisconsin's history of naturalism and conservation, an important complement to work in the state's research universities and regulatory agencies. People around the state have volunteered their time to help with everything from monitoring invasive insect pests to observing Wisconsin's bat and bird populations. People who participate in citizen or civic science have the opportunity to develop a closer connection with the natural world, and a chance to develop greater understanding of and consensus around environmental issues. Wisconsinites who aren't scientists in their daily lives also can and do undertake all sorts of projects to help address environmental challenges, from building rain gardens to fostering habitat for monarch butterflies.
 
Wisconsin's wild bees are a small but mighty part of the ecosystem for native plants and agriculture alike. And they're in trouble.
By bringing together former state, federal and academic conservation professionals, Wisconsin's Green Fire hopes to provide sources of science-driven expertise.
Summer means cream puffs and rides on a Tilt-A-Whirl for many fairgoers, but people also enjoy the thrill of competition as the culmination of months of energy on a wide variety of projects.
There are many steps an individual can take in backyards and around communities that can help revive pollinating insect populations, including conservation and promotion of healthy habitats.
The Monarch butterfly is a vital pollinator across much of North America. But the species is facing some of the same environmental pressures afflicting other insect pollinators, and the number of monarchs overwintering at sites in Mexico is declining precipitously.
A strategically placed rain garden can mitigate excess water and add visual interest to a property.
Energy conservation starts at home. With a few modifications to existing landscape design, an average backyard can become an energy conservation tool.
A U.S. Geological Survey study recommends timely removal of fallen leaves from streets as a way to improve urban water quality.
A number of water utilities around Wisconsin offer rebates on shower heads, faucets or toilets to reduce water consumption.
Fall is a great time to harvest and sow milkweed seeds. For the monarch butterfly, milkweeds are essential for survival.