This graphic demonstrates that participation in the NatureMapping
Program can be as variable as a one-time participation during a weekend
hike, to a long-term project involving community, classrooms, and
By recording your observations, you are ultimately creating a pathway
for your own continued exploration and discovery. This pathway can lead
from the front door of your house, the classroom door to the schoolyard,
or from the trails at your local learning center. Join the millions
that observe wildlife and take the next step by sharing your
observations so that we all learn.
Anyone can become a NatureMapper. Early inquiry of the Program is
usually through the website. The website provides a way for you to
share your observations by using an online data form. The data form
becomes personalized as you consider some inquiry about wildlife that is
based on a scientific question and the development of a
NatureMapping facilitated project.
Participating in a Bioblitz is exciting and can be a good avenue for
understanding the concept of biodiversity and the variety of life in a
local area. Bioblitzes, such as those conducted in Pierce County, are
24-hour inventories of a specific area. Experts with different
expertise (e.g., bird, mammals, insects, plants, bats, fungi, etc.) come
together for a single event to record very comprehensive data on
short-term observations. A primary tool used in these events is
NatureTracker, a handheld data collection system with computer software
that provides the ability to display locations of the observations by
the end of the bioblitz. Citizens are an integral part of the bioblitz
teams. Learn more >
Data Collection and Monitoring
Wildlife monitoring is the backbone of the NatureMapping Program.
Recording observations from one or many locations is the key to
understanding the distribution, seasonal movements, and habitat
associations of the animals around us. Monitoring can be in the form of
regular observations of your backyard, observations during a frequent
walk, seasonal observations at stations established around the school,
regular observations during the commute, or even your favorite
once-per-year trip during the summer or holidays. Groups such as
Seattle Audubon or the Crescent Valley Alliance just submit data from
Workshops are provided to let those participating in the NatureMapping
Program progress as far as they would like, from simple monitoring to
more complex projects involving various technologies. NatureMapping
participants can first learn to complete and submit their observations
in a two-day Data Collection and Monitoring Workshop.
Teachers may take a Teacher Preparation Workshop before the Data
Collection and Monitoring Workshop to become more familiar with the
terminology and skills needed to train their students.
Water is a component of biodiversity and the Water Module has an
extensive source of materials, besides on-line data entry. Because so
many other groups teach how to monitor, workshops are not provided.
Monitoring over time, can often leads to questions about animal
populations, population interactions, or even behavioral responses to
changes in the landscape. The NatureMapping Program provides for the
facilitation of workshops to develop more investigative research.
NatureMappers may develop their own projects based on monitoring data,
or become involved in a research project initiated by a regional field
researcher. NatureMapping Centers bring together the community and
schools with the researchers. Participants can learn the methods of
field investigation and work collaboratively with professionals on a
variety of projects. One example is the Mule Deer Project.
Facilitation and Technology
Some projects incorporate various technologies. The NatureMapping
Program facilitates the integration of technologies that are appropriate
to specific projects. Some projects make use of NatureMapping Program's
NatureTracker data collection software or Geographic Information Systems
(GIS). Special skills employed in a project are often a reflection of
the partnerships that develop from the interest and outcomes of the
project. This may include learning how to read tracks in the snow, how
to create transects, and advanced technology such as radio-collaring and
The projects and the trainings can progress over time. Project CAT is an
8-year study that became inclusive of the entire school district. The
Adopt-a-Farmer project has been active for over 10 years and branches
out with new research questions about every two years.
NatureMapping Training Workshops are Available >>