Extension News

NatureMapping Workshops Offered in Franklin and Decatur Counties

7/19/2007

AMES, Iowa -- NatureMapping workshops are set for Aug. 7 in Franklin County and Aug. 11 in Decatur County.

Iowa State University Wildlife Extension established the NatureMapping Program to help the state’s wildlife professionals manage Iowa’s wildlife. Started in 1999, the program teaches citizens how to collect information on common wildlife species.

The workshops are:

Aug. 7, 2007, at the residence of Doug Alert and Margaret Smith, 850 Mallory Drive, Hampton, IA. Please contact Margaret Smith at (641) 430-9241 for more information.

Aug.11, 2007, at Timberhill Farm, residence of Bill and Sibylla Brown, 21675 Pony Farm Road, Leon, IA. Please contact Sibylla Brown at (641) 446-7358 for more information.

For registration information for either workshop, log on to www.extension.iastate.edu/naturemapping/workshops. There is a $30.00 cost for each workshop, which includes materials and lunch.

“There are not enough professionals, time or funding to conduct an inventory of all the nation’s flora and fauna,” says Jason O’Brien, coordinator of Iowa NatureMapping. “One way to achieve the needed inventory is to involve an interested public in helping us. Wildlife professionals can use the information to establish management plans for the state’s wildlife. In the coming years, NatureMapping information has great potential to guide the state’s new Comprehensive Wildlife Action Plan, which lays out visions and strategies to conserve wildlife over the next 25 years."

The plan identifies 999 different species. Currently, Iowa NatureMapping is keeping track of part of these species, the birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and has collected tens of thousands of observations representing over 350 species. “Using trained NatureMapping citizen volunteers will go far in closing the information gap and allow us to make more well-informed wildlife management decisions,” says Doug Harr, Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program Coordinator.

The program provides hands-on environmental education. “Involving the public in ‘finding the pieces of the puzzle’ is what NatureMapping is all about,” says Jim Pease, Extension Wildlife Specialist and Director, Iowa NatureMapping. “Trained NatureMapping volunteers are a vital link in wildlife management efforts in Iowa.” He added that the goal is “to keep common wildlife common.”

“Citizen involvement to date shows that Iowans are dedicated to protecting and enhancing our state’s wildlife,” O’Brien says. Since its inception, hundreds of people, representing schools, businesses, agencies and other community groups have been trained. “Volunteers can provide much needed data by recording wildlife observations around their home and feeders, when hiking, canoeing or doing other wildlife-related activities. School participation can vary depending on the size and scope of the projects chosen,” Pease adds. “It can fulfill a valuable service to their community, while meeting teaching and learning standards in science, math and other subjects.”

For more information, contact O’Brien at (515) 294-6440, at jpobrien@iastate.edu or visit the NatureMapping website at www.extension.iastate.edu/naturemapping.

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Contacts :

Jason O'Brien, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, (515) 294-6440, jpobrien@iastate.edu

Margaret Smith, (641) 430-9241, mrgsmith@iastate.edu

Sibylla Brown, (641) 446-7358, timbrhll@grm.net