Washington NatureMapping Program

Home | About Us | How to Participate | Biodiversity Modules | Projects | Maps | News | Resources

NatureMapping Data Collection Protocols

How to Use the Data Collection Form

There are different versions of the NatureMapping Data Collection Form, but they all require the same basic information.

Step 1. Download and print the Data Collection Form >>

Step 2. Before you start collecting data, learn how to complete the data collection form >>
              or read the Summarized instructions.

Step 3. Observe wildlife in your yard or local park and try filling out the data collection form.
After some experience, you should be ready to collect data in the field.

The Data Collection Form:

blank data collection form

A completed Data Collection Form:

completed data collection form

Description of John Smith's field observations:

On November 23, 2006, John Smith (ID 4799) collected data while on a walk in Mt. Baker Park in Seattle, Washington. First, he heard an Anna's hummingbird and saw it fly to a rhododendron tree in a mixed deciduous/conifer forest (Habitat Code = 236). Then he noticed another hummingbird chase the first one into the woods. John got a good look at both of the little green Anna's hummingbirds.

Ann's hummingbird data

When he went home, he did a Google search to find information on hummingbirds and found the Anna's Hummingbird Fact Sheet on the NatureMapping website. He read that only one species of hummingbird overwinters in Seattle, so John was sure that the little green birds he saw were Anna's hummingbirds. He found the Latitude and Longitude coordinates of Mt. Baker Park using a mapping website called EarthTools. Then he checked the NatureMapping website to find the Species Code for Anna's hummingbird (CAAN) and the Habitat Code.

While on his daily walk, John saw a grayish squirrel with a bushy tail quickly climb up a tree, but he only got a brief look at the animal, so he was unsure of the identification. On previous walks in the park he had observed Eastern gray squirrels, so he thought that's the species he spotted at the park.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

The following day, November 24th, John Smith was playing with his son at the park when he spotted an American robin feeding on earthworms (Habitat Code = 235 Forested park surrounded by development). His son noticed that the bird had a black head, which is characteristic of the adult male. American robins are very common in the neighborhood, and his son pointed out the orange-red chest of the medium-gray bird, so John was sure the identification was correct. For this observation, John recorded all the information on the Data Collection Form at home.

American robin data

Practice Using the Data Collection Form

Observe wildlife in your yard or a local park and try filling out the data collection form. Leave your field guide at home and try to spend most of your time observing wildlife. Take notes on the collection form to use for future reference. You can use field guides and online resources at home to help you identify wildlife species. Species Codes and Habitat Codes are available on the NatureMapping Website.

Learn more about How to Participate >>

Home | About Us | How to Participate | Biodiversity Modules | Projects | Maps | News | Resources

Observe's Name City, County, StateDate Species Name Sure How observed Lat Long How many Habitat code