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!
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!
The Snapshot Wisconsin team (mainly our awesome summer intern, Ally) spent a lot of time over the summer prepping equipment for our statewide launch. We had over 200 kits made and thought that was a good amount. None of us could have predicted the phenomenal response from new volunteers! Since August 9th we have had more than 1100 people signup to host Snapshot Wisconsin cameras across the state. Additionally, more than 300 people had signed up in non-open counties over the last 2 years. So, things at Snapshot Wisconsin have been super busy, to put it mildly. We started our fall training schedule last week with in person training in Platteville and Darlington. This week we are off to Merrill and Crandon (the remainder of our training schedule can be seen here). We also launched a new online training system, including brand new videos, last week. More than 200 people have completed the new online training system and we are working on getting them setup with MySnapshot accounts and getting equipment out the door. Thanks to all the volunteers for their patience and enthusiasm for getting started with our project. We have been working on some automation to better manage the multitudes of new volunteers, in time that should help us to be more efficient.
We are really excited to spend our fall traveling, meeting new volunteers and seeing new photos come in from all over Wisconsin. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes blog posts to come!
The Snapshot Wisconsin team
Last week the Snapshot team traveled to Milwaukee to participate in the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. As a sponsor of the conference, Snapshot Wisconsin hosted a booth where we met and chatted with wildlife folks from around the Midwestern U.S. We had a lot to show attendees, including some fun flashcards that the team put together to help people work on their classification skills. We were honored that our booth was chosen Best in Show!
We also organized a Citizen Science symposium called “Collaboration with the Public for Natural Resource Research, Management and Conservation.” The symposium focused on practical advice for citizen science project managers. Topics included protocol design, participant recruitment and training, data management, and evaluating program outcomes. Presenters included WDNR project coordinators, a developer from Zooniverse, and the new director of the UW-Madison Arboretum.
Christine Anhalt-Depies and Professor Tim Van Deelen
One of our Snapshot Wisconsin team members, Christine Anhalt-Depies, was chosen as the graduate student recipient of this year’s Leopold Scholarship from the Wisconsin Chapter of the Wildlife Society. Christine was chosen based on her commitment to the wildlife profession and her exceptional commitment to her professional development in a way that honors the memory of Aldo Leopold. Congratulations Christine!
Our new Snapshot Wisconsin mascot, Snappy the Snapshot Beaver, was a hit with students at the conference. We were offering up a gift for anyone who posed with Snappy for a selfie and many students were happy to participate.
The following post is by a guest blogger, Caitlin Henning, Communications Specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Office of Applied Science. Currently, her primary project is the WDNR’s landmark Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer & Predator Study. Thanks for the information on this project, Caitlin! Read More…
Thanks to everyone who participated in our first annual #SuperSnap contest! First prize goes to the 3 bear cubs featured above. This photo was taken in May of 2017 in Sawyer County. Thanks to @Lefthooklooie for nominating these cute bear cubs!
Second prize goes to this happy buck! This buck was captured on camera in Iowa County in November 2016, thanks to @Snowdigger for this nomination.
Third prize goes to this wintery wolf! This wolf sequence is from an Iron County camera and was taken in March 2017. Original #SuperSnap nomination by @SteveMeurett.
This month’s #SuperSnap comes to us from CraftyWench. This turkey was captured flapping its wings while perched in front of an educator camera in Sheboygan County.
Check out all the nominations by searching “#SuperSnap” in Talk. Hashtag your favorite photos for a chance to be featured in the next #SuperSnap blog post.
The elk rut peaks mid-September to mid-October. A Wisconsin resident recently caught an amazing video of bull elk getting rowdy in preparation, which you can see if you visit this link.
Our trail camera hosts in the elk reintroduction areas – Black River Falls, Clam Lake and Flambeau River State Forest – have been checking their cameras and uploading photos. We rely on these camera checks to gather data on how the elk are doing in Wisconsin and to get great photos to share!
Bugle Days is an annual tradition held in Clam Lake Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Snapshot Wisconsin was invited to participate this year in order to share some info about our elk monitoring project, recognize current volunteers, and recruit some new volunteers.
Bugle Days presented a great opportunity to see some of our volunteers who we haven’t seen since training, and also to get out in the field during the day and check some cameras. We ended each evening with a slide show of Snapshot Wisconsin images accompanied by a campfire.
We are currently looking for more trail camera hosts in each elk range area. These cameras are set up on public land so all volunteers need to participate is transportation to the camera areas, a handheld GPS device, and a healthy sense of adventure! To find out more information about the elk monitoring opportunity send an email to DNRSnapshotWisconsin@Wisconsin.gov with the subject line “Elk Monitoring”.
Last week we traveled to western Iowa County to help lead a Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin field trip showcasing one of our very first camera sites. Most Snapshot Wisconsin cameras are located in wooded areas, but this one is in a restored prairie/wetland. Over the last year this site has captured some incredible photos of birds, including spotted sand piper, sand hill cranes and great blue heron. We were thrilled that the landowner was willing to host and help lead the field trip, and it was a wonderful treat to spend the afternoon outside in such beautiful surroundings.
According to the landowner, the property was used for conventional agricultural up until 8 years ago when he began converting it to prairie. There is also a trout stream running through the property which has benefited from funding and restoration work by Trout Unlimited.
We were fortunate to have Darcy Kind along to help lead the trip. Darcy works for WDNR as a Conservation Biologist for the Landowner Incentive Program, which helps private landowners create and manage habitat for rare or declining species. Darcy has extensive knowledge of native plants and worked with this landowner on restoration projects throughout the 240 acre property.
Prescribed fire has played a key role in clearing brush and encouraging the growth of native plants on the property. Most of the native plant species we saw were not planted, but emerged from the existing seed bank that remained in the soil through decades of agriculture! During the trip we saw rare Hill’s thistle, four species of milkweed, Goat’s rue, lead plant, and many more native forbs and grasses. We also saw red and white oaks thriving in a restored oak savanna, and red headed woodpeckers which nest in at least two places on the property.
Thanks to Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin for providing the opportunity for us to share this beautiful property and promote Snapshot Wisconsin! Anyone who lives in or near Wisconsin should check out their upcoming field trips.
We hope to lead this trip or a similar trip next year. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive this announcement and other updates from Snapshot Wisconsin.
The Snapshot Wisconsin team was in Milwaukee the last few days attending the Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
This event was a great opportunity to learn about research being done throughout Wisconsin as well as other parts of the world. We attended talks about new methods to estimate deer recruitment in Wisconsin; carnivore detection and abundance in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; climbing behavior of Gray Fox; and the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network just to name a few. We are hoping to be able to have some guest posts on the blog about other camera trap research projects in the future.
John gave a presentation entitled “Validation of crowd-sourced trail camera image classifications” which had some great information about classification accuracy of Zooniverse volunteers as compared to expert classifications. Christina’s presentation was “Snapshot Wisconsin: Updates from our first year of volunteer-based wildlife monitoring with trail cameras”. Susan focused on the elk monitoring project with a presentation called “Using Cameras and Volunteers to Monitor Elk Reintroduction in Wisconsin”.
The conference was also a great opportunity to socialize with colleagues from other parts of Wisconsin and see a bit of downtown Milwaukee.