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Displaying items by tag: community science

Summer is a prime time for catching and observing zipping dragonflies! In Wisconsin alone, there are 164 species of dragonfly and damselfly. Each one of these species not only has unique iridescent coloring to their thoraxes and abdomens but distinctive wings that are unique to each dragonfly. Scientists have been surveying dragonflies since the 1800s but their migratory patterns are still not fully understood and it is difficult for scientists to survey entire states without the help of the community. In recent years, the popularity of community science projects has allowed members of the community to participate in collecting data. Participating in dragonfly/damselfly surveying helps scientists study and conserve these mysterious shimmering odonates. 

It all started in the summer of 2018, which was my first true exposure to the world of dragonflies and damselflies. This was followed by my first field season leading odonate surveys with the Urban Ecology Center during the summer of 2019.

I’m not sure I can pinpoint what it is that is so utterly addictive about seeking out these flying assassins.

Co-authored by Jeff Veglahn.

Recently in early April, Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward at our Menomonee Valley Branch, spotted a bumble bee flying around and was able to capture an incredible video of it landing on a willow to feed. 

This interaction may seem common enough, but after careful identification of the bee, the video became more exciting than initially thought! What was captured on film was actually a Two-spotted Queen Bumble bee which is one of about twenty bumble bee species in Wisconsin. This was the first recorded sighting of a queen bumble bee of any kind in Milwaukee County this year and one of the very first in the state for this year.

We know COVID-19 is affecting everyone in Milwaukee County in many different and difficult ways. We are now spending a lot of time indoors living, working, and teaching as we care for ourselves and one another through physical distancing. However we also know that nature has incredible healing and calming powers that we want you to take advantage of during this stressful time. Whether that is in your backyard, in a park, or even through your window, we hope you have the chance to interact with the outdoors. Before you head outside, please abide by all health and social distancing recommendations by the CDC as well as by local health officials as they can change with every passing day. Please use your best judgment as your safety and ultimately the public’s safety is of utmost importance.

Thursday, 13 February 2020 16:44

A Sucker for Sapsuckers

One of my earliest interactions with a bird happened when I was a child. However, it was not actually with a bird, but instead an interaction with the source of its food. Every year as a child my family and I would pack up the car and head up to the great north woods to our log cabin situated on a small lake. In front of our cabin there was a birch tree just feet from the edge of the lake.

Friday, 02 August 2019 10:44

The Natural Bird GPS

I have always been interested in the unique physiology and behavior of our local avian friends; however, my internship this summer with the UEC has further sparked my interest in their migratory patterns. As one of the Community Science and Research Interns, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Door County for the annual Bioblitz. This event consists of several passionate scientists from around the state meeting and conducting biological surveys for an area of interest- basically a bunch of nerds doing what they love. As a part of this, I had the chance to participate in bird banding.

Bring your friends and family and help us count and document the different animal species in the parks we manage this summer during our Mini-BioBlitzes.

Before we get any further, what the heck is a BioBlitz? Well, a BioBlitz is typically a 24-hour event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species of plants, animals, fungi, and any others organisms as possible in one area. The goal is to create a snapshot in time of everything that is present.

Experience the nocturnal biodiversity and ecological richness of the natural areas around our three branches during a 2-hour Mini-BioBlitz on July 22nd at Washington Park, August 19th at Riverside Park and August 21st at Menomonee Valley.

Perhaps you remember dancing through the cool grass on a summer night, eyes carefully fixed on small, fleeting glimpses of light as they traveled silently through the air. You’d reach out and quickly grab into the darkness, and, if you were lucky, the spaces between your fingers would illuminate a bright green – leaving your face glowing with wonder. Many people have a joy of catching fireflies and watching them dazzle the night air. It can truly be a breathtaking experience.

Thursday, 28 February 2019 15:11

Story of a Young Scientist

Because of your support, our next generation of environmental scientists is growing. Up and out the door at 6 a.m., Analiese is ready to dive into the latest Community Science research project at the Urban Ecology Center! It’s not how you’d expect an 11-year-old might start her day. But for Analiese, walking a few doors down to the UEC at daybreak was a weekly routine during the summer of 2018.

Thursday, 31 January 2019 06:47

Where Art Meets Ecology

I got started volunteering at the Urban Ecology Center through small mammal monitoring in the summer of 2012 and have been fortunate enough to help with that project at least a few times every summer since, alongside numerous other projects. These opportunities and the UEC have helped me get to where I am professionally, granted me steady friendships, taught me so very much, and, most importantly, welcomed me, enthusiastic quirks and all, with open arms.

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