Funding Available for Volunteer-Based Monitoring Projects

Individuals, community and school groups, conservation organizations and local governments that enlist volunteers to gather critical information regarding Wisconsin plants, animals, waters and other natural resources are encouraged to apply for up to $5,000 to help fund these monitoring activities.

The Natural Heritage Conservation program has provided Partnership Program funds to volunteer monitoring projects since 2004 and has provided more than $1 million in support to 241 high priority natural resource monitoring projects in Wisconsin. This program provides important services through increased data collection capacity, citizen engagement, and significant cost savings; partner organizations typically contribute $3 in matching funds and donated time for every $1 the state provides toward the projects.

The Partnership Program application is open to any organization or individual conducting citizen-based monitoring that addresses priority species and habitat data needs in Wisconsin. The application is due April 6, 2017.

“Citizen-based monitoring helps to fill priority data gaps while empowering volunteers to make a difference both locally and statewide,” says Eva Lewandowski, coordinator of the Citizen-based Monitoring Network for DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program. “Wisconsin has a long and proud tradition of volunteer involvement in monitoring our natural resources, and financial support from the Partnership Program goes a long way in supporting those volunteer efforts to study and protect our plants, animals, and habitats.”

The Department of Natural Resources has released a request for proposals for the Citizen-based Monitoring Partnership Program and is currently accepting applications. This request for proposals and application guidelines can be found on the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network website,

Projects can apply for up to $5,000 to fund monitoring activities from July 1, 2017 to June 20, 2018. In previous years, funded projects have focused on topics like monitoring lake temperatures, documenting bird distributions, and training volunteers to monitor rare plants.