Community Science Series

Come learn about bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects with Insect Ambassadors at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Throughout the summer, we will be hosting seven different community science projects. These projects help appreciate, understand, and protect insects! Learn more about each event below or download our event flyer as a PDF.

Wild Bee on a Purple Echinacea flower. Photo by Celeste Huff.

This summer we will be hosting seven events in the Community Science Series:

All events are FREE and open to the public!

Registration is required: Sign up here

Lakeshore Nature Preserve

All events in the Community Science Series will take place at the beautiful University of Wisconsin-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve, a 300-acre (1.2 km2) nature reserve along 4 miles (6.4 km) of the southern shore of Lake Mendota. The preserve’s primary goals are to protect native plant and animal communities, as well as to uphold the campus’s signature natural landscapes, all while providing an educational facility for the university. Learn more about the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

Lakeshore Nature Preserve: Frautschi Point and Picnic Point

Community Science Series Events

Caterpillars Count!

Friday, May 19, 2023 (1-3 pm)

Caterpillars Count! is a community science project for measuring the seasonal variation, also known as phenology, and abundance of arthropods like caterpillars, beetles, and spiders found on the foliage of trees and shrubs.  This data is used by researchers to relate trends in arthropod populations to bird population trends in those same areas, and to better understand how changes in climate and land use impact the plants and animals around us.  Come for a fun-filled hike-and-seek for caterpillars!

Registration is required: Sign up here

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Luna Moth caterpillar. Photo by David Davis.

Monarch caterpillar larvae.

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Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Saturday, June 3, 2023 (1-3 pm)

This event will have a special guest speaker: Julia Whidden from the UW Arboretum!  Monarch butterflies migrate south for the winter, but the upper Midwest serves as a critical breeding ground for monarch caterpillars!  Help contribute to the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project with us by learning more about this incredible species and collecting data on caterpillar populations.  Learn more about the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project.

Registration is required: Sign up here

Garden Pests and Beneficials

Saturday, June 24, 2023 (1-3 pm)

Join us at Eagle Heights Community Gardens to learn about all of the critters in our gardens!  We will be using WiBee, the Wisconsin Wild Bee app, to discover the pollinators visiting fruit and vegetable flowers, and we will also be learning about and scouting for common insect pests in gardens as well.

Registration is required: Sign up here

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Eagle Heights Community Gardens. Photo by Bryn Scriver.

Female firefly signaling. Photo by Radim Schreiber.
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Firefly Night

Saturday, July 8, 2023 (6-8 pm)

The Firefly Atlas is a collaborative effort to better understand and conserve the diversity of fireflies in North America. Launched in 2022, the project aims to advance our collective understanding of firefly species’ distributions, phenology, and habitat associations, as well as to identify threats to their populations.  Come learn about fireflies and look for some “lightning bugs” for an enchanting evening!

Registration is required: Sign up here

BumbleBee Brigade

Saturday, July 29, 2023 (1-3 pm)

Come learn about the bumblebee species found in Wisconsin with Susan Carpenter from the UW Arboretum! The Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade is coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. As a community-based monitoring project, B.B.B. partners with volunteers from the public to conduct long-term monitoring of the state’s native bumble bees. Help contribute to this science project which ultimately aims at conserving and protecting bumblebee species in Wisconsin!

Registration is required: Sign up here

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Bombus griseocollis (Brownbelted bumble bee) on an echinacea flower. Photo by Jay Watson.

Female Tiger Swallowtail (black form). Photo by the UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve.
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Wisconsin Butterfly Monitoring Program

Friday, August 4, 2023 (1-3 pm)

Established by the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Milwaukee Harbor District in 2018, the Wisconsin Butterfly Monitoring Network is a cooperation among many additional partners that survey our state’s butterfly diversity as a way to help assess ecological change over time and engage the public as citizen scientists.  Learn more about the Wisconsin Butterfly Monitoring Program.

Registration is required: Sign up here

Dragonfly Monitoring Program

Saturday, August 26, 2023 (1-3 pm)

Join dragonfly experts from the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society to monitor dragonflies and damselflies as part of the Wisconsin Odonata Survey.  This will be a fun day of learning about dragonfly life cycles, ecology, and phenology while contributing to an exciting community science project aimed at protecting these amazing insects!

Registration is required: Sign up here

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Painted skimmer dragonfly. Photo by Jean Upton.