Snapshot Wisconsin volunteer Corri Hamilton checks program information as she sets up her new trail camera.
Snapshot Wisconsin seeks volunteers to build on wildlife monitoring momentum
Ryan Bower is a communications specialist working in the DNR’s Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Fifty million photos. That colossal milestone has now been reached by the Snapshot Wisconsin wildlife monitoring program, thanks to its nearly 2,000 trail camera volunteers.
But the program, one of the DNR’s largest citizen science efforts, is not stopping there. Using this momentum, Snapshot Wisconsin is recruiting additional volunteers across Wisconsin to host trail cameras and contribute to wildlife monitoring in their area.
Snapshot Wisconsin, launched in 2016, includes a community of volunteers who host trail cameras that capture images of passing wildlife. More than 2,100 trail cameras (some volunteers have multiple cameras) are part of the program reaching all 72 Wisconsin counties.
Photos are uploaded to the crowdsourcing platform Zooniverse — zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/ snapshot-wisconsin — where thousands of other volunteers then classify the species shown. The program receives about 45,000 photos each day.
Data from the project helps the DNR understand the distribution of wildlife populations around the state and make important wildlife management decisions.
To celebrate collecting its 50 millionth photo, Snapshot Wisconsin released an interactive map in November showing the project team’s favorite photos from across the state. The map highlights each photo and tells a story about the image or the species shown.
NEW WAY TO EXPLORE DATA
Rare species sightings, unusual animal behaviors and even a few multi-species encounters can all be seen in the interactive map. Find a link in the Snapshot Wisconsin December 2020 newsletter: dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/Snapshot WINewsletter.
Also in 2020, Snapshot Wisconsin released the first version of its Data Dashboard, an interactive tool that offers volunteers and the public a new way to explore Wisconsin wildlife species.
Anyone can discover how species are spread across the state, when they are most active and how many sightings Snapshot has observed in each county. The data for 18 wildlife species is available to explore, and more species will be added over time.
Check out the Data Dashboard at widnr-snapshotwisconsin.shinyapps. io/DataDashboard.
While Snapshot Wisconsin was able to get closer to its goals last year, the program needs more volunteers to reach its next level of development. The program seeks volunteers for both aspects — hosting trail cameras and classifying wildlife.
For camera hosts, requirements include access to at least 10 contiguous acres of public or private land along with access to high-speed internet and basic computer skills. Volunteers must be able to check the camera at least once every three months for a minimum of one year.
Once accepted as a camera host, volunteers receive all equipment and training needed, and staff are available to troubleshoot any issues.
If you want to see what species live in your area or contribute to wildlife monitoring statewide, try volunteering with Snapshot Wisconsin.
ABOUT SNAPSHOT WISCONSIN
To learn more about the Snapshot Wisconsin wildlife monitoring program or apply to be a trail camera volunteer, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “Snapshot.”