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How to Get Involved in Dragonfly and Damselfly Research at the Center

Written by Anne Reis
    Thursday, 20 June 2013
How to Get Involved in Dragonfly and Damselfly Research at the Center

What other group of animals besides birds can you identify through binoculars, take colorful photographs of during the summer and track their migration in the spring? If you answered dragonflies and damselflies, you would be correct! Wisconsin is home to over 160 species of dragon and damselfies and summer is the time to monitor for these fast-winged, brilliantly- colored invertebrates. This year, two of the Center's Advanced Outdoor Leaders, Ethan Bott and Humzah Abdullah, will be leading the Odonata (the scientific group name for dragonflies and damselflies) Surveys with the help of volunteers from the Wisconsin Odonata Survey and the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society. Ethan and Humzah recently attended an Odonata workshop at UW-Waukesha led by experts from across the state. The following narrative is Humzah's summary of the workshop:

"As a part of my Internship at the Urban Ecology Center we are doing research on damselflies and dragonflies by surveying them in their natural habitat. I attended a dragonfly workshop where I got a chance to learn from a few professionals about dragonflies. As a part of the workshop all the people where separated into two groups. One group went to a river while the other went canoeing in a lake. I fortunately was in the group that went canoeing. The weather was absolutely perfect to be outdoors and in the water. While out on the water I caught a few dragonflies that landed on the canoe. Once a dragonfly lands, they can't close or fold up their wings so they have a lot of difficulty moving while landed, making it easier to catch them while they are landed. At one point we went to a marshy area where a few people who had waders on ventured into it. I also learned of a new plant that has the same effects as poison ivy which will be good for future reference. At the workshop I was also given a detailed and colorful book called, Dragonflies of Wisconsin, which was very informative. Other people that were attending the workshop seemed very happy to see some younger people so interested."

Ethan and Humzah are excited to begin the odonata surveys this summer. The Urban Ecology Center, with the participation and partnership of members of the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society and Wisconsin Odonata Survey, will be hosting a Dragonfly and Damselfly workshop on Saturday, June 29th from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. There will be a brief presentation in the Community Science room and then an excursion into Riverside Park to demonstrate a dragonfly and damselfly survey. All individuals and families interested in dragon and damselflies are encouraged to attend. There will many opportunities later in the summer to help conduct odonata surveys at all three Center branch locations.

Dragonfly Survey

Photo Credit: Wisconsin Dragonfly Society
Anne Reis

Anne Reis

Anne has conducted research on a variety of topics including cranberries, potatoes, wetlands, lichens, tamaracks, and most recently bats. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from UW-Madison and a M.S. in Biological Sciences and a GIS Certificate from UW-Milwaukee. Anne is the GIS Specialist at the Center and enjoys reading, mapping, gardening, and spending time outside with her husband and daughter in the Riverwest neighborhood.

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