Archive | October 2018

November Volunteer of the Month

October’s Volunteer of the Month is
Roger from Sawyer County!

November’s Volunteer of the Month is Roger from Sawyer County. Roger was one of the first Snapshot Wisconsin volunteers, as he reaches 2.5 years with the project this month – wow! Roger enjoys hunting, fishing, and being outdoors every day.

Roger’s camera site is a fan favorite, and staff go-to for exciting photos. Roger recently stated, “One of the coolest things that ever happened to me was early in the program, I had a picture of eight otters going down a trail that I maintain on my property. This picture was used in a publication for the University of Wisconsin.” Images from Roger’s camera have also been used in a Snapshot Wisconsin lesson plan, Making Observations, where students are able to observations about animal behavior over time and space.

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A romp of North American river otters captured on Roger’s Snapshot Wisconsin camera

Thank you, Roger! Thank you to all our trail camera hosts and Zooniverse volunteers for helping us discover our wildlife together.

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Snapshot Saturday: October 27th, 2018

Do you ever feel like you’re between a beak and a hard space? This Snapshot Saturday features a Great Blue Heron (and unlucky turtle) from a Dane County camera!

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Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/. Classify photos from all the trail cameras at www.snapshotwisconsin.org.

September Travels

Council Grounds State Park

The end of September is a beautiful time to travel around Wisconsin.  This fall we have had a lot of opportunity to get out and enjoy the fall colors as we travel around doing in person trainings across the state. Taylor and I traveled up to Crandon and Merrill for a few days for trainings and gave a talk about Snapshot to the Lincoln County Sports Club. We were fortunate to have Friday afternoon off so we took the opportunity to check out Council Grounds State Park just outside Merrill. We had a lovely walk along the lake shore and as usual found ourselves checking out animal sign along the way. We found bear sign but didn’t see any bears. We did see some late season harebell flowers, lots of fly mushrooms, a white throated sparrow and possibly a migrating magnolia warbler.

Whenever we travel we like to take the opportunity to try the locally owned restaurants. We were fortunate to have a really good Mexican restaurant, Los Mezcales right next door to our hotel in Merrill. We have been keeping a journal of our travels since we started the project back in 2016. It is fun to look back and remember our adventures over the past 2 plus years.

On Saturday, we left Merrill to head to Black River Falls where we met up with Joe to lead a Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Field Trip out to a couple of our elk monitoring cameras.  The fall colors around Black River Falls were even prettier than they were farther to the north. About a dozen attendees met us at the Black River Falls WDNR office parking lot for a preview of our trip and a brief introduction to the elk reintroduction and monitoring programs. There are about 200 or so cameras around the Jackson County Forest specifically for monitoring the elk herd that was reintroduced to the area in 2015. These cameras are all maintained by volunteers with the Snapshot Wisconsin Elk Monitoring project.

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After our discussion about the elk we drove about 20 minutes outside of town to reach the camera locations. A short hike into the woods brought us to our first camera location. Taylor showed the attendees how to perform a camera check, which includes recording the date and time of the camera check, the number of photos recorded on the SD card in the camera and changing out the SD card and batteries.  We took another hike to a camera nearby and one of the field trip attendees took over doing the camera check. One of the other attendees found some wolf sign in the area, and the camera did have a wolf proximity sensor associated with it. We will have to wait and see if any wolf pictures show up at this camera site.

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We plan to host this field trip for NRFW again next year. Folks local to the Wisconsin area should check out the field trips offered by NRFW every year. Many are led by DNR employees or employees and volunteers of other conservation groups across the state.  They are a great way to learn more about conservation and get an inside look at what is going on in Wisconsin.  Curious to learn more about elk? Check out this page on the WDNR website: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/elk.html To signup to participate in the Snapshot Wisconsin elk monitoring project send an email to DNRSnapshotWisconsin@wisconsin.gov with the subject line “Elk Monitoring”.

Snapshot Saturday: October 20th, 2018

Although Snapshot Wisconsin cameras are used to collect data on Wisconsin mammals, they still capture photos of all the wildlife – including Monarch Butterflies. This Snapshot Saturday comes to you from Sheboygan County!

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Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/. Classify photos from all the trail cameras at www.snapshotwisconsin.org.

Science of Surveys

As graduate student on the Snapshot Wisconsin project, part of my role is to help the team better understand their volunteers and conduct research that will assist with program improvement.  One way I do this is by surveying trail camera hosts when they enter the program and after they have been participating in Snapshot Wisconsin for one year.

Developing a survey takes more work than you might expect!  Some things, like age or occupation, are relatively easy to measure.  However, abstract concepts like satisfaction or attitudes are much more difficult to capture in a survey.  These abstract concepts must be measured in more indirect ways, and typically social scientists develop a number of survey questions or items to measure a concept.

For example, let’s say I wanted to measure someone’s job satisfaction through a survey.  You could ask, “How happy are you overall with your job?” (Rate 1-5).

Surveys ready to be delivered to Snapshot trail camera hosts

In order to capture more aspects of job satisfaction, it would be better to ask: “How happy are you with each of the following parts of your job?  Autonomy, work load, salary, coworker relations, etc.” (Rate each 1-5).

Bear with me while I get theoretical for a moment…

Imagine you have a whole universe of survey items you could ask someone about job satisfaction.  If you choose just one question to ask them, that question is not likely to be a good representation of their job satisfaction as a whole.  However, if you ask them multiple questions, you get a much better representation of their job satisfaction.

Let me use an analogy.  If I want to know all the different species of mammals found in a particular county and I put out just one trail camera in that county, it isn’t likely to be sufficient.  I put out a whole bunch of cameras across the county, I’d get a much more accurate count.

Often, I get this question from people who take surveys: Why do some of these survey questions seem so similar to one another?  Can’t you ask this with just one question?

The answer is: if we are asking about an abstract concept in a survey, assessing it indirectly though multiple questions is the best way to go if we want valid scientific results.

Through email and the internet it is so easy to deliver surveys and if you are like me, you get a survey in your inbox from some business or organization just about every week.  Hopefully this sheds a little light on what goes on behind the scenes before you get that “new mail” notification.

For those of you who have completed a Snapshot Wisconsin survey, your responses are truly valued.  We are learning a lot; see here for some early results and keep your eyes on the blog for more. If you are interested in learning more about the science behind surveys, let me know in the comments!

 

 

Snapshot Saturday: October 13th, 2018

Any guesses on what species this lanky limbed species is? Hint: Snapshot Wisconsin caught its first rare species this summer on cameras in both Vilas and Oneida Counties!

Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/. Classify photos from all the trail cameras at www.snapshotwisconsin.org.

2018 Volunteer Recognition Events!

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2018 Stewart Lake County Park Volunteer Recognition Event

Stewart Lake County park outside Mount Horeb was the setting for our first volunteer recognition event of 2018. It was fun to see some of our volunteers again who we haven’t seen since training or who we might never have met in person at all. We had about 60 people turn out for a lovely evening. Jen and Taylor gave a presentation that included some of our science updates from the last year of the project. Sarah got the privilege of handing out the recognition certificates to the volunteers. I was able to share some of the changes we have planned for Phase 2 of the project, including much needed improvements to our IT system. We had been planning on cooking the food ourselves but at the last minute decided we had enough on our plate without that and opted for catering. Some of our volunteers brought dishes to pass and the Snapshot crew brought some desserts. Thanks to all for contributing to a successful event!

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Sarah handing out certificates

Unfortunately, we had to cancel our 2nd event planned for September 20th at Lake Wazee due to forecasted severe weather. We are looking for alternate dates (and an inside location!) for later this fall/early winter. We will let folks know when it is rescheduled.

We are looking forward to transitioning to more of these types of events in future as we transition more fully to online training and don’t have to travel so much for in person training. All of our trail camera hosts who have participated for at least a year receive an invitation to our recognition events. Getting close to your one year anniversary? Keep an eye on your mail for a letter from us and a special gift!

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Taylor and Jen presenting Snapshot science updates

Snapshot Saturday: October 6th, 2018

Check out this silly duo captured on a Dane County Snapshot Wisconsin camera. As they say – like mother, like child. Happy Snapshot Saturday!

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Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/. Classify photos from all the trail cameras at www.snapshotwisconsin.org.

October Volunteer of the Month

October’s Volunteer of the Month is
Thomas from Marinette County!

Thomas has been a trail camera host since June 2017. Thomas is also an activate participant on Snapshot Wisconsin’s crowdsourcing platform, www.SnapshotWisconsin.org, where you may recognize his handle of @Swamp-eye. His username comes from the position of his camera overlooking the swamp on his property, the same piece of land where he was born and raised.

Thomas enjoys hunting, fishing, woodcarving and volunteering with Snapshot Wisconsin in his free time. He shared, “I have always been interested in the flora and fauna of this great county. I learned my hunting skills from my dad and my love of nature from my mom.” One of our favorite quotes from Thomas is, “you couldn’t find a better hobby” – we think we couldn’t find better volunteers!

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Thomas and his Snapshot Wisconsin equipment kit (hiking stick not included!)

Thank you, Thomas! Thank you to all our trail camera hosts and Zooniverse volunteers for helping us discover our wildlife together.