Archive for the ‘Citizen Science’ Category
by Kristin Butler
About fifteen of us were gathered in a classroom one Thursday evening last month on San Francisco’s South Bay. We were there to hear a talk as part of a bat banding workshop and field demonstration at a riparian restoration site. The wildlife ecologist and bat expert who gave the talk explained why the nocturnal creatures deserve our protection and respect.
In the field the following night, we watched our teacher wade chest deep across a creek, deftly extract a tiny bat from a mist net by the light of his headlamp, and measure, observe, and band it back at our camp.
As I watched, I imagined what it would be like to be a scientist who gets to study and protect these fascinating animals every day, and I wondered if there was a way for a non-scientist like me to get involved. Read the rest of this entry »
Gayle Steffy’s fascination with butterflies started when she was thirteen. She found her first monarch caterpillar, brought it home and raised it to adulthood. She’s been hooked ever since, collecting data on monarchs years before joining any of the established monarch citizen science projects. Despite her early interest, which eventually led her to acquire a BS in Environmental Studies, she didn’t initially envision where her work would take her. “I didn’t have a specific goal at the start – I just wanted to record everything I could about each monarch I caught, figuring I could look at it all later and see what it all meant,” she said.
Beginning in 1992, she caught, tagged, and released monarch butterflies in Pennsylvania during their annual migration to Mexico, and then recorded if any of the monarchs were later found at their Mexican overwintering sites. After 18 years of collecting migration data, Steffy accomplished something that not many citizen scientists have done before. In August this year, she published her work in a special monarch-themed issue of the Annals of the Entomological Society of America, a well-respected scholarly journal. Read the rest of this entry »