Tracking Invasive Earthworms in the Northwoods

This Project was funded in 2014-15 through the Citizen-based Monitoring Network, in partnership with the Wisconsin DNR.  WHIP was awarded $5000 to carry out education and outreach, to introduce the concept of invasive earthworms to the public, and to take citizens and students into the field to sample the soil and identify worms.  
 
GOALS:

  • Establish a “Wisconsin Worm Watch” pilot program for Citizen Based Monitoring over multiple natural areas within the Northern Highland Ecological Landscape.
  • Prioritize gathering data on presence/absence and spread of invasive earthworms and identify “earthworm free” areas, to assist with research in the DNR Division of Forestry Forest Health Section related to overall forest ecological systems and regeneration cycles.
  • Provide a standardized protocol and template for students and citizens to perform surveys, run field projects and provide accurate, repeatable data collection for areas of the state that match up with existing research needs.
  • Coordinate and partner with existing statewide Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) awareness initiatives (started by me) involving proper bait disposal (a.k.a. “Contain Your Crawlers!).
  • Develop classroom curriculum for student and citizen monitors.
  • Provide broad-based exposure to communities, schools, forest industry, loggers and citizens in the Project area to encourage active support and awareness of the Project.