4th Sunday Bird and Nature Outing: Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring with Eva Lewandowski – August 25, 2019
Eva Lewandowski, who coordinates Wisconsin DNR Citizen-based Monitoring projects, shared with the group of 19 participants about her important work. The DNR coordinates 20-25 projects and partners with about 20 others throughout the state. These projects help the public to participate in scientific research—the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.
Eva explained several projects that the Preserve lends itself to, such as the Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade, the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, projects involving counting and photographing dragonflies and damselflies, Frogs and Toads, Turtles, or the acoustic echo counting of bats, and water quality monitoring. The Friends contribute to several of these projects.
An expert in Bumble bees and butterflies, Eva helped us identify the Common eastern Bumble bee, the Two-spotted bumble bee and Brown-belted bumble bee. She observed that bees are unusually small this year because of the lack of food early in the cold spring season. The number of queen bees, which alone of the entire colony survive into the next year, are declining in Wisconsin. People participating in the Bumble Bee Brigade project help collect important statistics on bee populations. 20 species of Bumble bees are found in Wisconsin.
Another important area of citizen research in Wisconsin is counting bats, as the white nose syndrome killing off entire bat colonies is now widespread. The aim is to eventually develop a cure or inoculation that prevents the disease. Knowing the location of bats will be essential for success.
Our youngest field trip participant was a particularly keen observer. She located both a small American toad and a lime-green Gray tree frog. A standout among other insects spotted was a large black and yellow garden spider. Eva also emphasized the importance of monitoring the quality of lake and river waters in Wisconsin and was glad to hear that the Friends are partnering with Clean Lake Alliance monitoring program.
Many thanks to Eva for an engaging and informative tour. Friends host Gisela Kutzbach. Photos by Kutzbach or as indicated.