Final poster to the Citizen-based  Monitoring Network

This project was supported by the Citizen-Based Monitoring Network (a partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.   Since no previously existing program was tailored to terrestrial invasive plant species in our two-county area, “Project WOW: The War on Weeds” is a key link between scientists and citizens, offering access to relevant information to foster awareness of local invasive species, and to use  technology to contribute toward species mapping.  With this funding, WHIP created unique educational kits containing printed materials and GPS tablet units, to allow students and interested citizens to contribute to an exciting citizen science effort to identify, map, track and report invasive species through Oneida and Vilas Counties.  Recognition of the value of technology in outdoor education is a major strength of the Project, and leads to both stronger engagement of participants as well as higher-quality data reporting.



Goals:

  • Establish the first technology-based program for students and  citizen groups targeting mapping of terrestrial invasive plant species specifically in Wisconsin’s Northwoods region
  • Teach greater awareness of terrestrial invasive plants and their impacts; and expand knowledge base of participants in recognizing invasive plants regulated under Wis. Admin. Code Ch. NR 40
  • Build portable complete educational kits containing GPS-enabled tablet computer, invasive species software and printed materials, for use in the field by students and citizen groups
  • Provide standardized protocol for collection of both presence/absence data and measure of abundance of invasive plants, with a focus on State Natural Areas and locations otherwise unsurveyed, such as urban roadsides and schoolgrounds and adjacent lands
  • Host half-day workshop trainings for teachers and group leaders to encourage adoption of program
  • Ensure data collected are recorded and reported in existing databases at county and state level (Great Lakes Early Detection Network and Midwest Invasive Species Information Network)


Accomplishments:

  • Eight Google Nexus 7-inch tablets were purchased, and outfitted with the app for the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN),  invasive species YouTube videos on identification, and other outreach materials.
  • A dedicated laptop was purchased for WHIP regular presentations and talks
  • Our Coordinator and Steering Committee members became trained in the usage of the GLEDN app and its significance
  • Eight backpacks were donated by the Girl Scouts Troop#, for housing the tablets and outreach materials! :) 
  • Copies of Invasive Plants of the Upper  Midwest by Elizabeth Czarapata were purchased for each educational kit


WHIP members have trained the following groups on how to use and borrow our tablets to use the GLEDN app for mapping invasives in their local areas:

Girl Scouts of the Northwoods (based in Rhinelander)
All 5th graders in Rhinelander and associated teachers/aides
A group of Master Gardeners of the Northwoods (based out of Crandon)
All 2015 and 2016 Clean Boats Clean Waters staff of Vilas County and 5 associated lake groups
Many Clean Boats Clean Waters staff and volunteers of Oneida County
Public attendees to a presentation at Trees for Tomorrow
Educators at a Science Workshop held at Kemp Natural Resources Station, including representatives from 3 elementary schools, 2 high schools, and 3 environmental outreach coordinators
.... and many more to come!  WHIP plans to expand this project beyond simple training on tablets and GLEDN app, to a point where groups are loyal to mapping their own particular spots, (such as school forests) and will return to monitor those locations again and again.  Call or email us to have a Project W.O.W. presentation for your group, or to borrow a kit!  715-369-9886 or rpage19@gmail.com 

Project information sheet

Data sheet 

Project WOW Resources:

PROJECT W.O.W. - War on Weeds!

WHIP Coordinator & volunteers using W.O.W. tablets to identify and report invasive plants.