Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Volunteers Keep the Invasives Out

IMG_0214(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

People have already started to say that “summer is almost over,” but I’m not ready to go there just yet. It’s still the middle of summer in my mind, the perfect time to be having summer adventures and vacations. One of the most popular activities during the summer is taking the boat out to the local lakes and rivers. When people take their boats far from home, to more distant bodies of water, this can become a serious problem. Invasive species can hitch a ride on those boats and travel with them to other lakes and rivers, finding new  homes there. When they do, they can disrupt and even take over ecosystems, with potentially disastrous results. To prevent this from happening, many boat launches host volunteers who work to remove invasive species before the boats hit the water. This story out of Michigan is just one example of how volunteers are working to keep invasive species off the boats and out of the water. There are numerous programs like this, from the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program in Wisconsin to the GREAT Boaters Program in Rhode Island. All of these efforts, with volunteers at the forefront, go a long way towards reducing the potential for serious ecological problems caused by invasive species.

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Volunteer Trackers

IMG_0463(by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

When interviewing environmental volunteers, I met a volunteer wildlife tracker. She told me about how groups of volunteers would go out in the winter and search for animal tracks, in an effort to gather data about which animals were in a given area. It’s yet another way that volunteers can help to collect information that is vital for conservationists as well as the general public, potential developers, government officials and others. In Minnesota, Jonathan Poppele wants to train volunteers to do this kind of work across the state, specifically aiming to collect data on wolves. The story mentions a similar program that has been successful in collecting important information about wolves in Wisconsin. Programs like these, across the country, are yet another citizen science opportunity for volunteers to get involved and make a difference in wildlife conservation.

More information here on the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project.