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Wings to Weather in Your Neighborhood

Do you love to dig in the dirt or watch storm clouds roll in? Do your children love to feed birds and hunt ladybugs? If your family is curious about the outdoors, tell us what you see in your backyard! Join WildWatch, a family-friendly, citizen science initiative of Clark County’s Green Neighbors program. You’ll have fun counting bees, tracking storms, measuring snowfall or keeping vigil over birds’ nests, and you’ll advance science with your observations.

You don’t have to go far to help out. Walk out your door and choose one or two of these simple observations. All the sites accept your information online and can be done in your own backyard. You can invest as much or as little time as you choose.

 

 

 

Be Part of WildWatch!

If you would like to spend time making observations in your own backyard and supporting national efforts to learn more about wildlife, plants and/or weather, sign up below to receive email updates about program activities and future workshops/meetings. We are excited to have you join us!

 

 

WildWatch is brought to you through a partnership between Clark County Environmental Services and the City of Vancouver, with support from the Backyard Bird Shop.

Bee Lovers

Without bees, 80% of the plants we eat and grow would not be pollinated

The Great Sunflower Project (www.greatsunflower.org)

What you will do:
Count honeybees, bumble bees and carpenter bees on plants like lemon queen sunflower, rosemary and other plants.
Time commitment:
15 minutes twice a month
Time of year:
Late spring, summer and early fall
Go to site

Plant Lovers

Plants are exceptional for watching how the climate has been changing. Observing times when plants leaf out, flower and produce seeds opens a window into understanding seasonal changes over time. And, if you are an avid gardener, you may get a better crop next year!

Project Budburst (www.projectbudburst.org)

What you will do:
You can choose to make regular observations or make a single report. As a regular observer, you can select just about any plant, figure out your geographical location, check up on it a few times a week and, when changes such as bud opening occur, report the dates online. For a single report, you will be selecting from a list with many common plants like Oregon grape or Lilac and reporting on your single observation.
Time commitment:
For a single report: 15 minutes
For regular observations:
Making observations 3 times a week during the early part of the growing season is ideal. You are asked to send in from 4 to 8 different observations (depending on the plant) over the growing season.
Time of year:
Growing season
More information:
This is an extremely user-friendly program. The website has great resources to help you: field journals, online Geocoder to find your location, and tons of information about the “phenophases” of many plants. And, there is even a free App!
Go to site

Weather Lovers

Are you weather wise? Help scientists track weather changes.

Skywarn Weather Spotter (www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/skywarn.php)

Help your community by providing timely and accurate reports to the National Weather Service during severe weather. Join 290,000 other volunteers nationwide as the first line of defense against severe weather.

What you will do:
After training, you will call in local reports on high winds, flooding, heavy rain and snow and other severe weather.
Time Commitment:
After a two hour training (classroom or online), commitment varies by frequency of severe weather.
Time of year:
Late fall, winter and early spring
Go to site

Rain, Hail and Snow Network (www.cocorahs.org)

You can help fill in a piece of the weather puzzle by volunteering with CoCoRahs, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Weather geeks of all ages collect data on rain and hail.

What you will do:
You will take measurements with your rain gauge and hail pad whenever rain, hail or snow falls. After sending in your reports to the website, others in your community (city utilities, emergency managers, and neighbors) can use and apply this information.
Time Commitment:
5 minutes a day during rain events
Time of year:
Seasons with rain and snow
Go to site

Ladybug Lovers

Spots or dots or not? Our very own North American ladybugs are becoming scarce and invaders from other places are more common. Help scientists track the disappearing nine-spotted ladybug and others.

Lost ladybug Project (www.lostladybug.org)

What you will do:
In early summer, find and photograph some ladybugs. Some watchers capture them with a net or black light. Taking a photo is easy if you slow down the bugs by putting them in the refrigerator for a short time. You can upload the photos on the website.
Time commitment:
Enough time to find, photograph and upload the photos. Send in 1 or 100 photos, whatever your schedule allows.
Time of year:
Summer
Go to site

Bird Lovers

Count birds at your feeders, gardens and nesting in your yard. All of these bird observation programs are sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology whose website (www.birds.cornell.edu) is an excellent resource for bird identification, bird watching and anything “birdy.”

Celebrate Urban Birds (www.birds.cornell.edu/celebration)

In this largest bird monitoring program in the country, you can count birds in a yard, garden, park or a balcony garden.

What you will do:
Keep track of any of 16 common birds (examples: robin, crow, mallard duck) found in urban areas.
Time commitment:
10 minutes whenever you can
Time of year:
Any season
Go to site

Project FeederWatch (www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw)

Scientists use your data to track winter bird populations to figure out long-term migration and overwintering trends.

What you will do:
Count birds at your feeder. Annual fee is $15
Time commitment:
10 minutes whenever you can
Time of year:
November through early April
Go to site

Great Backyard BirdCount (www.birdsource.org/gbbc)

Last year, participants created nearly 135,000 lists documenting over 34 million birds across the globe. Your checklist added to others’ create a real-time snapshot of where birds are across the US and Canada.

What you will do:
For 4 days in February, count your backyard bird visitors
Time commitment:
At least 15 minutes
Time of year:
February 14-17, 2014
Go to site

Nestwatch (www.nestwatch.org)

Do you have any of these birds nesting in your backyard — Black-capped chickadee, American goldfinch, house finch, mourning dove, song sparrow, spotted towhee, western scrub jay, dark-eyed junco or American robin? If so, join NestWatch and learn about bird breeding biology as you collect records on nests, eggs, young and fledglings.

What you will do:
Without disturbing the parents, find an active nest to monitor.
Time commitment:
Visit the nest every 3 to 4 days until the birds are gone.
Time of year:
Early spring until the nest is empty.
Go to site

Weed Warriors

Report invasive species straight from your smart phone!

Pacific Northwest Early Detection Network (PNEDN)

What you will do:
You can report invasive species right from your phone. Through the free Early Detection/Rapid Reporting app, you click on a species, key it up with descriptions and pictures, and then report its existence. When reporting, you will be prompted to take a picture of the plant and choose the area of infestation from a menu. Your exact GPS location is also directly measured from your phone. When you submit a report, it goes to the EDDMapS server for mapping and then Vegetation Management and the WSDA noxious weed coordinator automatically get an email containing the report. The PNEDN website has great resources to help you: species information, distribution mapping, training materials, as well as weed control resources. 
Time commitment:
Five minutes whenever you want to report a species.
Time of year:
Any season

Go to site