Friday, October 24, 2008

another great conference, and a superb volunteer

The Citizen-based Monitoring Network hosted another great conference this weekend, in Onalaska, WI. Saturday's list of presentations, with a banquet and keynote speaker on Saturday evening were capped by the now-annual awards for projects and volunteers who have done fantastic work on many types of monitoring projects. MCAMMP won an award for Project of the Year last fall, and one of our volunteers (Lynn Ratkowski) received a Volunteer of the Year award last fall as well. This year another of our volunteers won this award - that's remarkable in itself. But the volunteer in question deserves some additional praise. Jenn Callaghan not only does a superb job on MCAMMP, but she also volunteers LOTS of hours on two other citizen science projects at Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center. All in all, that's just an amazing feat. Congratulations, Jenn! Jenn's pictured above, surrounded by students visiting the MCAMMP banding station.

Witnessing her receiving this award were a few other special people who work on this and a host of other related projects: Tim Vargo and Jesse Hill of UEC, and Owen Boyle. Tim, Manager of Research and Citizen Science at the UEC, is one dynamic person who leads or directs dozens of projects going on at the Center. Jesse is a weekend educator at the Center. Owen is Southeast Regional Ecologist for the Wisconsin DNR, and an exceptional scientist and researcher. Tim and Owen and I, along with Chris Lepczyk of the University of Hawai'i, (another extraordinary ecologist/ornithologist, who wasn't here tonight) have worked together on MCAMMP and other projects for several years, and I can't praise them enough - I'm grateful to know them and work with them.

The conference continues tomorrow. To learn more about the Citizen-based Monitoring Network, go to the website

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