Volunteer Spotlight #1

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Spring is finally here and with it comes Citizen Science Day on April 14th! Join us in celebrating the amazing work of volunteers like yourselves from around the world!

Special Volunteers

At CitSci.org, we are inspired by the work volunteers do for their projects! We’d like to take this opportunity to share some inspirational stories from people (like you) who demonstrate their passion for what they do on a regular basis. Congratulations to John, Carol and Bruce whose stories struck us and who we’ve chosen to spotlight in this blog.

John Bunch – Vernal Pools Project

John Bunch

John has been collecting data for the Vernal Pools Project on CitSci.org since 2014. His involvement in citizen science began through a Virginia state-wide salamander breeding project sponsored by the Virginia Master Naturalist Program, which he has been a part of since 2010. He’s been part of other citizen science projects not on CitSci.org as well, including RareQuest; a program that helps gather data on rare species in the local area and John says being involved in this search has been the most rewarding. His motivation for citizen science stems from his curiosity about nature and his desire to contribute to science with his observations. To John, citizen science means that no matter where you are, if you like to observe nature you can be a part of helping better understand the world around us. The impact of citizen science helps us gain information so that we can make informed decisions regarding our actions.

Carol Nix- Trout Unlimited, West Virginia

Carol Nix

Carol got involved in citizen science through Trout Unlimited after she retired and started looking for volunteer opportunities in her community. At the time, she was involved in a local watershed organization as a water monitor and her experience there drew her to Trout Unlimited. Her favorite citizen science project so far is monitoring the stream that lies on her property, collecting specimens for Butterfly Atlas, WV and collecting milkweed insects for researchers in VA. She believes in the power of citizen science because, “I think we all have a responsibility to help protect our environment. Doing citizen science is definitely educational, and it’s a good excuse to get outdoors, get some exercise, and entertain the dog.” Finally, she believes that “scientific inquiry is vital, and never more so than today. But research takes funding, and volunteers can help stretch the budget, that’s the hope.” Keep it up Carol!

Bruce Snyder- Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Bald Eagle Watch Program, Colorado

Bruce Snyder

Bruce began monitoring bald eagle nests after discovering an active bald eagle nest on a golf course near Golden, Colorado. His lifelong interest in raptor ecology nicely meshed with his newfound interest in determining factors contributing to why a bald eagle would nest on an active golf course. He has collected data since 2012 for Bald Eagle Watch, a program supported by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies whose goal is to enhance knowledge of bald eagles in Colorado and work with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to improve eagle populations and management plans. Bruce says his observations and those of his team members have “challenged many conventional thoughts regarding tolerances of nesting bald eagles to human activities and habitat requirements.” His curiosity and interest in eaglets throughout various weather conditions motivates his citizen science research as well as his desire to make a positive contribution toward the conservation of raptors and the ecosystems in which they live. To Bruce, citizen science helps state, federal and local conservation agencies and organizations obtain valuable and timely information that would otherwise be unavailable to support their management actions since they may be strapped for personnel and money. Bruce is willing and able to provide voluntary support to their missions by doing something that interests him.

To all who volunteer like John, Carol, and Bruce – Keep up the excellent work and thank you for your dedication!

– The CitSci.org Team

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