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A Busy May

Happy Spring! the Snapshot Wisconsin team in spending the month of May bopping around the upper Midwest for trainings, fieldwork and conferences, oh my! We’ve been checking in on Zooniverse from the road, but we apologize if we’ve been less responsive than usual this season. Here are some highlights:

New elk cameras!

A new cohort of elk will be released into the Flambeau River State Forest (FRSF) in Sawyer County this summer (south of the existing Clam Lake herd). The Snapshot Team traveled to FRSF to train volunteers who will be hosting cameras in this new area. We also got to tromp through the woods ourselves to put up some of the cameras, and came across lots of animal sign, wildflowers and other indications that spring has sprung.

Citizen Science Association conference

We learned a lot about the field of citizen science at the Citizen Science Association conference in St. Paul, Minnesota last week. At our tabling session we met all kinds of wonderful people managing citizen science projects, including other trail camera projects. It was wonderful to hear about all the fantastic work going on in citizen science, and we came home with a list of ideas on how to improve our own project. Team member Christine Anhalt-Depies gave a great talk about what motivates our trail camera hosts to participate in Snapshot Wisconsin.

New counties, new trainings!

This month, we’re providing trainings for our trail camera hosts in St. Croix, Oneida and Marinette counties. Stay tuned for 6 new counties opening for enrollment in the next couple weeks!

 

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Citizen science event in St. Paul, Friday May 19

This Friday, May 19, Christine, Christina and Susan will represent Snapshot Wisconsin at a Night in the Cloud in St. Paul, Minnesota. For those of you in the Twin Cities area, come down and learn about 100+ hands-on projects & see a screening of “The Crowd and the Cloud.” We’d love to see you!

Out and About with 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.

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Susan Frett, Christina Locke, Christine Anhalt-Depies and John Clare pose for a group selfie!

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”.

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Susan’s Elk Monitoring Presentation

The conference was also a great opportunity to socialize with colleagues from other parts of Wisconsin and see a bit of downtown Milwaukee.

Getting artsy with Snapshot Wisconsin

Thanks to all who helped classify photos for Season 2 of Snapshot Wisconsin! The season is now complete, with 39,885 photo triggers retired in 61 days. If you’re looking for ways to avoid the between-season blues while we prep for Season 3, how about getting in touch with your inner artist or poet? Read on for inspiration…

 

From its beginning, the Snapshot Wisconsin project was conceived as a way to benefit wildlife management and advance science, while encouraging the general public to become more engaged with the natural world. Its connections to art, on the other hand, were not readily apparent, but we’ve been overjoyed that these connections have arisen naturally. Two recent examples:

Example One.  Snapshot Wisconsin scientist Jen Stenglein was recently invited to talk at the James Watrous Gallery, surrounded by Valerie Mangion’s paintings inspired by trail camera images from her Wisconsin farm. Mangion says she hopes that “the animals featured in Night Vision come across as the individuals they are, not as stand-ins for, or as symbols of, an entire species or the attributes we humans assign to them.” Check out more info on Valerie and see some of her paintings from her Night Vision exhibit here.

Valerie Mangion at the opening of “Night Vision” in July. Photo: Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences.

Valerie Mangion at the opening of “Night Vision” in July. Photo: Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences.

Wildlife researchers often think of the animals in trail camera photos as data points that, when taken together, reveal trends and patterns of general populations. It is incredibly refreshing and important to realize another perspective, that each individual animal has a personality that is deserving of a painting, poem or song. This is something many of our Zooniverse volunteers understand intuitively, but has taken awhile for the researchers to catch on!

It is totally normal to bring a tree to an art gallery to demonstrate trail camera usage, right? Photo: Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences.

It is totally normal to bring a tree stump to an art gallery to demonstrate trail camera setup, right? Photo: Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences.

Example Two. Maine-based nature aficionada and Zooniverse volunteer extraordinaire gardenmaeve wrote a lovely poem inspired by a Snapshot Wisconsin image of a deer at daybreak (Subject #299116), and has graciously agreed to share. Thank you gardenmaeve!

Sunrise Doe
Awake in the wee hours, now rosy with sunrise,
She gulps earthy breaths of the sweet Jackson air.
Replete with cold twig tips, with old stems, with new greens,
She lingers in sunrise. The morning is fair.
With scarcely seen mist rising faster than sunrise
She mouths every scent like a well-savored cud.
A crow calls up morning, then hushes in dawn-lift
Brief peace for the doe as she seeks tender buds.
© gardenmaeve

Do you have a poem to share, inspired by nature or a particular Snapshot Wisconsin image? Share it in the poetry thread!

Deer at sunrise