Meet the Exhibitors!

Bee Spotter

BeeSpotter needs volunteers to go outside with a camera or smartphone and capture quality photos of bees! Researchers at the University of Illinois are trying to better understand bee demographics in the Midwestern states of Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, & Ohio, and they need your help. Your data will become part of a nationwide effort to gather baseline information on the population status of these important pollinators.  BeeSpotter is a partnership between citizen scientists and the professional science community. The project is designed to educate the public about pollinators by engaging them in a data collection effort of importance to the nation.

Chicago Wildlife Watch

To assess the biodiversity of the greater Chicagoland area, Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute has established monitoring stations within city parks, forest preserves, golf courses and cemeteries in parts of Cook, Lake, DuPage and Will Counties including downtown Chicago. Motion-triggered cameras are deployed four times per year at more than 100 sites to determine which species are present and to assess spatial and long-term patterns in wildlife communities.  To date we have collected over 1 million images.  Chicago Wildlife Watch is a collaboration between the Adler Planetarium’s Zooniverse team and the Urban Wildlife Institute. Faced with a year’s worth of back logged research, the Urban Wildlife Institute enlisted the help of the Adler Planetarium’s Zooniverse development team to create a citizen science platform that would empower the people of Chicago to assist researchers in classifying important data essential in assessing local wildlife and their habitats.

eBird

eBird assembles bird observations from individuals around the world, collected them in a common database that is accessible to researchers and the public alike. Citizen naturalists are thus able to merge the data they collect about bird occurrence and abundance with data from a large number of other eBird users who are both recreational and professional bird watchers. The collective effort maximizes the accessibility and utility of any individual’s observational data. Increasing the number of experienced contributors to this database makes it more valuable to educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists.

Gravity Spy

In Sept 2015, the first gravitational wave was observed and many more could be observed with your help in identifying instrumental and environmental sources of noise called glitches. By selecting the right classification for a given glitch in Gravity Spy, you are helping computers learn to do this classification themselves on much larger datasets, which helps scientists determine and eliminate the sources of noise. Humans still are far better than computers at recognizing subtle differences across images and when an image simply does not fit within a known category.

Habitat Network

Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment estimates that the United States has more than 40.5 million acres of lawn, in which approximately 30 billion dollars, 7 billion gallons of water and 3 million tons of pesticides are invested annually to care for and maintain spaces that provide little to no resources for wildlife or humans. Previous research suggests that small changes in the way properties are managed can enhance wildlife habitat, reduce the strain on streams and rivers, support migratory species and turn barriers into bridges for wildlife. Habitat Network is creating a citizen science movement to explore how our collective efforts to transform yards and urban landscapes into more diverse habitat can support wildlife and connect people to nature in communities around the world. Our web-based mapping tool, captures and shares the state of private and public lands mapped by participants, highlighting ecologically relevant practices to build a social movement to affect ecological change on a large, and ecologically-relevant scale. The Habitat Network tackles a widely acknowledged conservation issue—the importance of human-occupied landscapes—by bringing people together to meaningfully restore ecological function to residential landscapes.  Habitat Network is made up of 2 components. First it’s a mapping and resource tool, which let’s you help scientists understand more about urban and suburban habitat available on private lands. The data collected through this process will be used to help scientists understand how private lands can help address urban and suburban environmental issues and help make informed decisions on where nature based solutions can be implemented. Second, Habitat Network is a community and network of people sharing ideas,expertise and data with scientists and each other. Together this project can contribute habitat data, build communities, and support biodiversity in urban and suburban landscapes for the benefit of wildlife and humans.

Healthy Trees Healthy Cities

Trees are essential to healthy communities. They produce oxygen, purify drinking water, clean the air and water and prevent erosion. They can also improve our overall health, increase property values and reduce crime. A quarter of our nation’s trees are in urban parks, along streets, and in our backyards. These hard-working trees represent a huge investment in municipal green infrastructure (e.g., trees and soils) with an estimated value of $2.4 trillion. Together as a community, we can protect this huge investment by taking action to maintain healthy trees in our neighborhoods. The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities initiative  protects the health of our nation’s trees, forests, and communities by fostering a culture of stewardship that engages people in the planting and care of urban trees. The Healthy Trees Healthy Cities program has developed a Tree Health Monitoring smart phone application which is free to download from your phone’s app store. The app allows users collect tree health monitoring data like: documenting tree plantings, tree pruning, tree stewardship (i.e.watering), and pest detection. Anyone is welcome to download the app and use it to document and steward a tree in their backyard, neighborhood, community or on public lands. The data collected from this effort is applicable to trees both nationally and locally. Nationally, every tree that is documented and reported is placed into a national database which can be used to examine trends across time and space on the national health of our trees and forests. This data is also available to local organizations to use for mapping, monitoring and decision making at the local level to distribute resources based on need.The Healthy Trees Healthy Cities Tree Health Monitoring App is a great way to help you truly “see” the trees around you while contributing to forestry.

HerpMapper

The HerpMapper project enables citizen science volunteers to create real-time records of amphibian and reptile observations in the field via mobile devices, and to document past observations via web browser (www.herpmapper.org).  Records are added to a secure central database, and are used by vetted groups and institutions (data partners) for research, conservation, and preservation purposes.  Only the contributing user and the appropriate data partner have access to all data within a record, and partners only have access to records that fall within their geographic work area and project scope.  Other users and the general public can only see very basic information in submitted records – specific locality data is stripped from public view.  In three years, the project has accumulated more than 150,000 records, and has established relationships with more than 40 organizations, including federal and state agencies, university research and education projects, and state atlases.

Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network

The Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network engages citizen scientists in the process of collecting quantitative data on butterfly populations. Our goal is to provide data collected with a standardized protocol that allows land managers to evaluate long-term trends in a changing landscape. The Network also offers opportunities for fellowship, mentorship, and continuing education between citizen scientists and professional biologists.

Illinois Odonate Survey

Illinois Odonate Survey is a citizen scientist program surveying dragonfly and damselflies populations and accounts throughout Illinois.  We are recruiting monitors for the program.

Lost Ladybug Project

To be able to help the nine spotted ladybug and other ladybug species, scientists need to have detailed information on which species are still out there and how many individuals are around. Entomologists at Cornell can identify the different species but there are too few of us to sample in enough places to find the really rare ones. The Lost Ladybug Project needs you to be our legs, hands and eyes. If you can look for ladybugs and send us pictures of them with our Upload Photos Submission Form we can gather the information we need. We are very interested in the rare species but any pictures will help us. This is the ultimate summer science project for kids and adults! You can learn, have fun and help save these important species.

Notes from Nature

Natural history museums across the world share a common goal – to make scientific data accessible to those who would use it. Museum records contain historical biodiversity data. Scientists and researchers can use the data to conduct new research and make better conservation decisions. The Notes from Nature project gives you the opportunity to make a scientifically important contribution. Every transcription that is completed brings us closer to filling gaps in our knowledge of global biodiversity.

Plants of Concern

Plants of Concern is a citizen science rare plant monitoring program that is recruiting botanically-inclined citizen scientists to help track populations of rare, threatened, and endangered species across the Chicago region.  Based at the Chicago Botanic Garden, POC trains citizen scientists to collect detailed data about rare plant populations, including their number, reproductive status, associated plants, threats, and management.  POC citizen scientists visit populations in preserves and natural areas, often trekking off-trail to find them. Those with a background or interest in plant identification, ecology, and natural areas, and the ability to collect detailed data are encouraged to join us!

Purple Martin Conservation Program

Purple martins are a species of migratory swallow that depend entirely on man-made cavities to breed in this part of the country.  To provide critical habitat for this species, the Chicago Park District has installed nesting towers at Jackson Park, South Shore Cultural Center, Montrose Harbor, and Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary.  Volunteer monitors are needed to assist in observing and recording nesting activities during the breeding season.  Beginner and expert bird enthusiasts are welcomed. New volunteers will be paired with an experienced volunteer mentor for training, and must complete an application to be considered.

Singing Insects Monitoring Program

The Singing Insects Monitoring Program is a new program based on Carl Strang’s work identifying singing insects of Chicagoland. Catching monitors up to speed on common insect calls and providing an opportunity to collect data on local species abundance, this program is the first of its kind.

The Calling Frog Survey

The Calling Frog Survey is comprised of ordinary citizens, citizen-scientists and scientists who share a strong environmental ethic and a love for frogs. By monitoring frog populations in the Chicago wilderness region we will be able to detect population changes, help assess the effects of habitat management, and add knowledge of our local ecosystems.

Wildlife Monitoring of Bats, Turtles, and Ospreys

Friends of the Chicago River is restoring habitat for three river-dependent species and we need your help to monitor them!  Working with the Forest Preserves of Cook County on this three-year Wildlife Habitat project, Friends identified bats, turtles, and ospreys as key species in our watershed that would benefit from our help.  We are now recruiting for our third round of trainings!  These trainings will provide all of the necessary information and expectations for interested volunteers to monitor our habitats.  We are asking volunteers to commit to one or more habitat locations and monitor at least 8 times during the year.  Commitment levels vary.  Volunteers only need to attend one training.  Our habitats are located in Glencoe, Skokie, Winnetka, Northfield, Morton Grove, and the Calumet.  The best part is that no experience is needed!