Cedar Creek Launches Citizen Science Project
One of the most famous ecology research sites in the world, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve brims with diverse flora and fauna. Sixty-one of the 77 mammal species present in Minnesota have been documented onsite. But that doesn’t mean they are easy to find, which is why Cedar Creek, in collaboration with the MN Wildlife Tracking Project, is enlisting the public’s help to survey the diverse mammals and birds that make their home at the research station.
It’s a rare opportunity to explore the research station, a wellspring for major discoveries relating to the value of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning and the concept of food webs. Technology for radio collaring and tracking was developed at the research station, as well.
“Systematically surveying our 5,400 acres for track and sign and learning the stories of animal movement and habitat use instead of just relying on chance encounters will help researchers understand what lives here and help community members appreciate how diverse and important this reserve is,” says Dr. Caitlin Barale Potter, education and outreach coordinator at Cedar Creek. “By becoming a part of the survey team, people from all walks of life will be able to be a part of the highly-respected science that goes on here. Plus, we've got 28 miles of sand roads -- perfect for novice trackers and an easy way to quickly collect a lot of interesting data!”
Participants will learn basic tracking skills including track IDs, survey techniques and use of the iNaturalist citizen science data collection platform. The information collected by volunteers will be available to the public and for use by Cedar Creek researchers. The project will continue year-round with a survey day each season.
Training: Saturday, July 23 [9 a.m.-4 p.m.]
Survey: Sunday, August 7 [9 a.m.-4 p.m.]