Local Citizens Discuss their Roles as Volunteer Scientists

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Date: July 27, 2016

Citizen Scientists in national parks get out in the field, gain deeper knowledge about the resources in the parks, and contribute valuable information to assist the National Park Service (NPS) manage the resources we all love. Many participants report a greater awareness of local issues, increased appreciation of the value of protected lands, and a stronger sense of stewardship. For the NPS, citizen science provides a wealth of much-needed data about key resources that can be used in planning management actions. Citizen Scientists at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) are involved in establishing baseline data on native frogs, conducting breeding bird surveys, monitoring piping plover nesting territories, managing avian botulism outbreaks, and contributing to our understanding of how invasive aquatic species contribute to avian botulism in the nearshore environment of Lake Michigan. 

On August 11, the National Lakeshore will host a panel discussion with several community members from Beulah, Glen Arbor, Honor, Interlochen and Traverse City that volunteer their time as Citizen Scientists for the park. The event will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center Auditorium in Empire, Michigan. The panel will include volunteers who assist with monitoring frogs, collecting biological and physical samples using SCUBA, monitor transects for avian botulism, and help with our piping plover recovery program. Learn about the management issues these projects are addressing and what these Citizen Scientists have learned about park stewardship, themselves, and their community. The panel will be facilitated by Sue Jennings, Biologist for the National Lakeshore. Panel participants include Michigan residents Char and John Ester (avian botulism),  Kevin Kinnan (piping plover), Carol Linteau (SCUBA diver for nearshore studies of avian botulism), Mary Ellen Newport (avian botulism), and Bill Stott and Keith Johnson (frog monitoring). 

This presentation is part of a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore speaker series called “Research Rendezvous.” To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NPS and highlight the value of national parks as our nation’s “living laboratories,” the National Lakeshore is hosting a series of public talks by park researchers in 2016. All Research Rendezvous presentations offered at the National Lakeshore are free. Upcoming “Research Rendezvous” presentations include:

“Otter Creek Brook Trout Restoration” by Brett Fessel (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) on Thursday, September 8 at 9:30 a.m.

"Evaluating and Preserving Dark Skies at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore" by Kevin Skerl (Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore) and Dr. Jerry Dobek (Northwestern Michigan College) on Thursday, October 13 at 9:30 a.m.

Talks are scheduled once or twice a month throughout 2016, with more being added frequently. Please check our calendar for the current schedule of upcoming talks.

Last updated: July 28, 2016

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