Citizen Science Opportunity: Phenology & Changing Seasonal Patterns

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has recently mapped out a series of observation points to collect data on the effects of seasonal change for several plant and animal species. These observation points are connected in a series of three “phenology trails” along the refuge. These observations provide important information to scientists in the National Phenology Network, along with our own biologists, as they seek to better understand how species are effected by changing seasonal patterns.

Their research depends on people like you, the citizen scientists, to help collect invaluable field data all across the nation. The data collection is done through a citizen science initiative known as “Nature’s Notebook”, which utilizes a user-friendly website and mobile application to aid in simple and accurate data collection.

  • If you are interested in joining this campaign, please consider attending an upcoming (as yet unscheduled) workshop, where you will learn about the importance of phenology and how to use Nature’s Notebook to collect data, along with finding opportunities to get involved.

For more information please contact Cortney Solum at cortney_solum@fws.gov

Volunteer to Lead/Co-lead Bird Walks

Where do you like to bird when you are birding alone or with a few friends? Birding by bike or canoe might be fun! Pick your favorite park or trail, somewhere close by or further afield, and contact me, Cheri Fox, about adding an outing to next year’s field trip schedule. We’d love to have a few more field trip leaders. I can be reached by phone at 612-590-1261 or cherifoxj@gmail.com.

If you have been thinking about leading a walk but are a little unsure about it, you may set up a field trip with a co-leader. You need not be an expert, you just need to be welcoming to your participants and have some experience with the trip location. For example, it’s very helpful if you have birded there before, know the park features (restrooms, optional trails back to the parking lot) – and where at least a few birds are likely to be found.

Two Bluebird Monitor Positions Open

Eastern BluebirdMonitors wanted for next spring at two established Birdbird Recovery Project bluebird trails: Southview Golf Course in West St Paul and TPC Golf Course in Blaine. Training will be provided. In both locations, a golf cart is available for the monitors’ use if you would prefer not to walk. For more information, please contact Jack Hauser at 952-831-8132 or email jgshauser@gmail.com.

  • Southview Country Club, 239 Mendota Rd E, West St. Paul, MN 55118
  • TPC Twin Cities, 11444 Tournament Players Pkwy, Blaine, MN 55449

Volunteer to Lead/Co-lead Bird Walks

BInoculars at ArboretumBy Cheri Fox 

We’d love to have a few more MRVAC field trip leaders! If you have been thinking about leading a walk but are a little unsure about it, you may set up a field trip with a co-leader.

You need not be an expert, you just need to be welcoming to your participants and have some experience with the trip location. For example, it’s very helpful if you have birded there before, know the park features (restrooms, optional trails back to the parking lot) – and where at least a few birds are likely to be found.

Where do you like to bird when you are birding alone or with a few friends? Birding by bike or canoe might be fun! Pick your favorite park or trail and contact me, Cheri Fox, about adding an outing to next year’s schedule. I can be reached by phone at 612-590-1261 or email at cherifoxj@gmail.com.

Education Chair Needed

AudubonAdventuresEach year our chapter puts aside funding to support educational activities in our region. One key activity is our reach out to a variety of schools and outdoor educational organizations offering them free access to the Audubon Adventure educational curriculum.

We are looking for a volunteer that would help us find educational programs that could successfully leverage these materials in their classrooms. If you are truly interested in supporting environmental education, please contact Greg Burnes @ 612-205-3071.

About Audubon Adventures: Across the country this material has been used to introduce young people (grades 3 – 8), their families, and their teachers to the fundamental principles by which the natural world functions. Audubon Adventures lessons offer an exciting, science-based exploration of those principles at work anchored in nonfiction reading and outdoor and classroom activities that help kids to care for the planet by helping birds and other wildlife. They integrate easily into the existing curriculum areas of science, social studies, mathematics, language arts and creative arts. Audubon Adventures has been used in classrooms, home schools, after-school programs, camp programs, ESL classes and more

Volunteer Opportunity – Richardson Nature Center

Richardson Bird ViewingThe Richardson Nature Center building features a “wildlife viewing room”. We are looking for additional “backyard” volunteers to assist us in maintaining this space by cleaning, maintaining, and repairing the feeder stations. These crucial volunteers also help with special projects as needed, including the seasonal maintenance of the pond.

This room, visited by countless school groups and visiting members of the general public each year, has floor to ceiling windows which looks out to the ‘backyard’ feeder stations. We offer sunflower seed, safflower seed, thistle, and suet when seasonally appropriate. Visitors love watching the songbirds, turkeys, deer and yes, squirrels.

Please contact Monica Rauchwarter 763.694.7678 for more information

Your Help is Needed for Climate Watch, A New Citizen Science Program

Eastern BluebirdBy Audubon Minnesota

Audubon Climate Watch is a new citizen science program that explores how North American Birds are responding to climate change. In 2014, Audubon released the Audubon Birds and Climate Change report highlighting the risks that climate change poses to birds.

Now, you can help by observing birds and learning more about how birds are responding to climate change.

MRVAC members are needed to volunteer for a few hours during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Jan. 15-18, 2016. This will kick off the pilot phase of Climate Watch. MRVAC will be a key part of the collaborative team that develops materials and resources, including mapping tools, for Climate Watch and will have the opportunity to represent the Audubon chapter network in helping to create this new national program.

The pilot will focus on areas of predicted change for bluebirds and targeted area maps will be provided so volunteers can survey appropriate habitat within the grid cell. At least 10 volunteers are needed.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please contact Greg Burnes, gburnes@comcast.net or Ashley Peters, apeters@audubon.org for more information on how to participate.