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Our Citizen Scientists Collect and Share Data

About West Ridge Nature Preserve’s Wildlife

Over a three year period, our Citizen Science Center has identified more than 95 wildlife species in West Ridge Nature Preserve (see table below).

For some species, our local information feeds into state data collection agencies. These data, along with information about other species, also become part of our own data base.

In the initial 2016 year, our citizen scientists collected baseline data on birds, frogs, toads, butterflies, and odonates (dragonflies and damselflies).

A $2,500 grant the following year enabled us to formalize the project, establish a foundation and launch coordinated programs linked to broader initiatives. 

We now belong to a number of statewide citizen science programs to learn proper data collection protocols and train interested volunteers. Our leaders schedule the monitoring sessions to collect data at the preserve.

The trained volunteers have become proficient at using the resources of eBird, Calling Frog Survey, IL Butterfly Monitoring Network and IL Odonate Survey and have submitted data to each organization. 

This past year, we participated in a trial run of the Lincoln Park Zoo bat monitoring program. This program includes equipment that records and graphs bat's echolocation calls to identify the species of bats present.

In addition to joining the formalized bat program in 2019, our intension is to intensify our focus on fish, reptiles and plants. Our plant data include wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees planted by the Chicago Park District. To help support our expanded focus, we will be seeking additional funding in 2019.

We are always looking fo additional help, so if you have even the slightest interest, please contact us. No experience is necessary.

For additional information, email Gary Morrissey at or fill out the education section on the Volunteer Page.

Also, keep an eye out for postings of monitoring events in our kiosk at the preserve and on our Facebook page, 568/. Please join us in making WRNP a better place for wildlife. 

Monitoring Observations (2016 - 2018)*

*Observed at WRNP for first time in 2018

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