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Snapshot Wisconsin team

The Snapshot

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Issue 1: August, 2018

Snapshot Wisconsin Launches Statewide

Trail camera

Snapshot Wisconsin is now open to volunteers in each of the state’s 72 counties. If you’re not already a volunteer, apply today [exit DNR] and help us discover our wildlife together! If you signed up previously for a non-open county we have your application on file, and we will be in touch within the next few weeks.

A primary goal of Snapshot Wisconsin is to provide efficient data that helps DNR make decisions about wildlife management. For four years, we've grown a network of trail cameras in 26 Wisconsin counties. With our statewide launch, we'll be gathering photo data from each of our 72 counties. Snapshot’s photos have been used to calculate fawn-to-doe ratios and to estimate the size of the elk herd. As Snapshot Wisconsin expands, volunteer-collected data will be used to develop new methods to monitor deer populations and assess the statewide distribution of carnivores. Snapshot Wisconsin collects a continuous, reliable and high-quality set of data through photos that can potentially be used for inferences about all of Wisconsin’s wildlife.

Check the WDNR Facebook page [exit DNR] today at 4pm for a Snapshot Wisconsin Facebook Live event announcing the statewide launch of the project. The Snapshot Wisconsin webpage also has a lot of new content so be sure to explore all the new info.

If you’re already a Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera host, consider forwarding this email to a friend who might be interested in joining.

How to get involved

Trail camera

Deployed Snapshot Wisconsin camera with a
security kit

To be able to host a trail camera, volunteers must have access to at least ten contiguous acres of public or private land and agree to host the camera for at least one year. The DNR provides all necessary training and supplies to accepted applicants. Volunteers do not need to have prior trail camera experience, but they do need basic computer skills and access to the internet to participate. Snapshot Wisconsin has local, in-person training sessions for accepted volunteers scheduled this fall throughout the state. Online training is also available.

Educators are also encouraged to apply! Snapshot Wisconsin offers a unique opportunity to get your students outdoors and connecting with nature, all while learning more about Wisconsin wildlife. Snapshot Wisconsin lesson plans will be available for all ages before the start of the upcoming school year.

Snapshot Stundent

Snapshot Wisconsin student

With 22 million photos and counting, we also need help classifying the photos collected from the trail camera network. Season 9 of Snapshot Wisconsin is happening now on Zooniverse [exit DNR]. Log in or create a new Zooniverse account to get started. It’s the perfect way for individuals, families and classrooms to participate in the project.

Volunteer Feedback

We think Snapshot Wisconsin is a fun, hands-on way for everyone in our state to contribute to wildlife research and education. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Hear from a few of our volunteers to find out what it’s like being a Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera host.

“It was really amazing to see our photos of a fisher, or fishers, at the school forest contribute to the southward expansion of that species’ known range in our state. That was something that was really exciting to share with the students especially because it showed them clearly why their work on this project matters and how they are contributing to science that has an impact.” -Skylar from Marquette County

“The excitement of recovering a new batch of photos is great. Similar to opening Christmas presents when you are a child. I can hardly keep myself from scanning ahead when reviewing and classifying photos but I have discovered hidden treasurers in photos that, at first glance, appear blank.” - Duanne from Vilas County

Colleen from Ashland County checks a Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera

“When I began using Snapshot Wisconsin and hosting a Trail Cam, I realized how much fun it would be to develop lessons for our local school that has a school forest and is hosting a DNR Trail Cam. The pictures from Snapshot Wisconsin inject excitement into the Wisconsin Science and Math standards. They transform abstract concepts into local experiences.” - Mary from Bayfield County

“If you’re at all interested in nature and animals, this is one of the greatest programs that I’ve ever seen. They supply you with a camera and the batteries [and all other necessary equipment]. All you have to do is set it out, go and check it periodically and send in your pictures. You couldn’t find a better hobby” – Thomas from Marinette County

We want to thank all of our current volunteers. Your outstanding support has made our statewide launch possible!

Plans for Fall 2018

Green and blue heron enjoying a Waukesha lake

Green heron (left) and blue heron (right), Waukesha County, May 6, 2017

The Snapshot Wisconsin research team at the Wisconsin DNR has been very busy behind the scenes prepping for this launch. We recently received 1,500 Bushnell trail cameras, and we need your help to get them all sent out the door this year. Help us spread the word by forwarding this newsletter to friends and family who might be interested in joining!

We have also started collaborating with some Natural Resource Educators from UW-Extension to offer additional training sessions for new volunteers. With their help, we will be offering multiple in-person training opportunities across the state in September, October and November. We have also created a new online training program that volunteers may complete if they are unable to attend an in-person session.

Snapshot Wisconsin behind the Scenes

Snaphsot Wisconsin classification map

Draft of Proposed Data Visualization

We are pleased to announce two new Snapshot team members joining the project. Chuck Cross will be our new IT contractor. Chuck will be a great help in making some needed changes to our MySnapshot user interface and automating some of the work that project staff have been doing manually, including the email reminder system for camera checks. Thanks to all of our current volunteers for their patience as we prepare to move to a newer and better system!

We are also adding a Database Manager and Spatial Analyst to the team later this month. One of her tasks will be working on our Data Visualization system, which will give the public to access our data. Visitors to our website will be able to see wildlife distributions across Wisconsin’s diverse landscapes. Stay tuned for more details as the system is developed.

Snapshot Photo of the Month

We always share one awesome animal photo in each newsletter, either picked by project staff or nominated by a volunteer. To enter one of your favorites from a Snapshot Wisconsin camera, send the image as a .jpeg attachment with the animal classification, county location and date taken along with the reason why you love the image to the Snapshot Wisconsin team.

Snapshot photo of the month. Doe in the snow.

Snapshot Photo of the Month – Doe in the Snow, Sauk County, April 2018

This month's image was submitted by Alan in Sauk County. Alan writes, “This really is a cool picture. Taken April 18, 2018, in Sauk County. I love this picture because snowfall is the best time to be in the woods, and it is very good photography.”

You can view other interesting photos from our cameras on our Zooniverse site [exit DNR].

Last revised: Monday May 06 2019