Hundreds of natural resources volunteers gather in Eau Claire on March 22-24

MADISON – More than 12,000 Wisconsin volunteers searched for rare plants, identified frogs, bats, birds and other species, and cut, dragged and burned invasive plants in 2017 to help care for the natural resources they love.

On March 22-24, 2018, hundreds of these citizen scientists and stewards will gather in Eau Claire for the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers. They’ll share their work through oral and poster presentations, get the latest research updates and training, enjoy field trips and network with others who are passionate about Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Bumble bee identification and monitoring, shown here, will be among the training sessions offered at the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers from March 22-24, 2018, in Eau Claire. - Photo credit: DNR
Bumble bee identification and monitoring, shown here, will be among the training sessions offered at the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers from March 22-24, 2018, in Eau Claire.Photo credit: DNR

“Volunteers’ work is critical to protecting and restoring our native species, our waters and our lands,” says Eva Lewandowski, citizen-based monitoring coordinator at DNR. “This conference celebrates their contributions and helps equip and inspire them to continue their work.”

The summit is the first joint conference of the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network and the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program (both links exit DNR) and is being co-hosted by the Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

More than 12,000 volunteers help collect information on Wisconsin natural resources and many of them will gather March 22-24 for a volunteer summit in Eau Claire.   - Photo credit: DNR
More than 12,000 volunteers help collect information on Wisconsin natural resources and many of them will gather March 22-24 for a volunteer summit in Eau Claire. Photo credit: Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited

Participants in the summit will enjoy trainings on everything from bumble bee monitoring to volunteering on State Natural Areas to lake and stream monitoring. Field trips, research and natural history talks, and a keynote presentation from Julia Robson of Milwaukee County Parks and Walk to Sustain Our Great Lakes are other key parts of the conference, according to Becky Sapper, who directs the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program.

“The summit will be an opportunity for individuals and groups to form partnerships, share ideas, and learn from each other to advance natural resources volunteering efforts throughout the state,” Sapper says.

Anyone interested in natural resource volunteering, including volunteers, land managers, researchers, and project leaders are encouraged to register for the Summit. Registration is open through March 2. Detailed information on the event and how to register are available online at the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network (exit DNR) website.