Citizen Science Training

Sky Island Alliance lends its success to nearly 400 volunteers, from diverse backgrounds, who contribute their time and skill each year in the field or the office.  The majority of volunteer opportunities we provide do not require extensive training or commitment, and volunteers can join us for half a day or a weekend, planting trees, building rock water catchments, meeting new people and learning as they go.  For scientific research, however, we offer training and guidance to ensure the best data collection practices and experience for our citizen science volunteers.  Volunteers who take part in citizen science make a larger commitment to acquiring the research skills needed and to contributing time on a regular basis.  They benefit from knowing that they have made new discoveries and expanded scientific knowledge and conservation in a place they love and enjoy.  In addition to becoming experts in a new skill, they become more knowledgeable and concerned about conservation in their own communities and understand more intimately how our actions affect the landscape.  They join a community of individuals who feel similarly. Upcoming citizen science training opportunities are posted on our event calendar.

Wildlife Tracking Workshops

We host Wildlife Tracking Workshops twice a year in spectacular settings throughout the Sky Islands.  This 40-hour training (usually over the course of a four or five-day overnight trip) provides hands-on field instruction and theory in a variety of skills and techniques needed for our wildlife monitoring.  Our Wildlife Tracking Workshop is required training to volunteer in our wildlife monitoring program, but we offer this opportunity to anyone who is interested.  Participants learn:

  • The natural history and conservation efforts of regional animal species.
  • Wildlife track morphology, structure and terminology.
  • Use of global positioning systems (GPS).
  • Photo documentation.
  • Wildlife camera monitoring techniques.
  • Track plaster casting and tracing.
  • Animal gaits and movement.
  • Safety and data collection protocols.
  • Experience with wildlife track and sign identification in the field.

After completing the workshop, participants have the skills to identify wildlife tracks and to document what they discover.  We show volunteers how to put these skills to use for both immediate and long-term conservation action.  We spend the majority of the training outdoors and accommodations range from tent camping to bunkhouse sleeping.  All course materials are included.  We invite every participant to adopt a survey route as part of a small team that conducts a tracking survey once every six weeks (nine surveys per year), as part of our wildlife monitoring effort.  Most survey routes are located in the U.S.  To accommodate volunteers’ busy lives, teams can schedule their survey day within a two-week window.

Check our calendar of events for upcoming workshop dates.

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