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.
 
The annual Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey covers about 100 roadside routes across the state, along which volunteers stop at 10 listening stations to document breeding calls from the amphibians.
There are other trail camera networks around the U.S., but Snapshot Wisconsin is a unique undertaking.
As wolves returned to broad swaths of Wisconsin after decades of being extirpated from the state, a tracking program in which volunteers scout for the presence of this predator grew, too.
Volunteers are an integral part of helping the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources keep track of the state's gray wolf population, which has grown in size and range over the past several decades.
With many habitats, from prairies to woodlands to wetlands, the UW Arboretum serves a variety of functions: a nature respite for the public, a place to learn how to best restore nature, and the home of many research projects for professors and experts.
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.