Bur Oak Land Trust currently maintains and preserves eleven local natural areas for the enjoyment and education of the public. These areas are managed in part by the Trust’s Land Steward, volunteer property stewards, volunteers, and community organizations. Volunteers play a crucial role in maintaining and preserving our properties.
Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks on Trust properties including: prairie burns, invasive species removal, trash clean up, trail maintenance, planting native species, and harvesting prairie seed, to name a few. We have various workdays throughout the year to provide everyone the opportunity to volunteer on a Trust property. Bur Oak Land Trust also needs help in the office with mailing, publications, community relations, and events. If you wish to volunteer, we can find something for you, no matter what your experience.
If you are part of a group or organization and would like to schedule a volunteer day, we would love to hear from you!
For workdays on the properties, contact Jason Taylor at jason@BurOakLandTrust.org or call 518-925-8713.
Thank you to Big Grove Brewery for supplying wooden nickels to reward our workday volunteers!
A large percentage of the projects I work on directly impact the pollinators of Iowa, which provides me with plenty of opportunities to learn more about bees, butterflies, ants, wasps, etc. There are so many good online resources for not only identification and information, but also for amateur naturalists to contribute to ongoing research.
The growth of citizen science projects over the last ten years has been amazing, with the general population helping with everything from raptor counts to highly technical protein folding projects. Summer is a great opportunity for everyone to contribute to research projects that are helping scientists better understand pollinator distribution across the world.
My favorite project to contribute to is Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA), which is located at www.butterfliesandmoths.org. This site provides some of the best images of butterflies and moths to help with identification, and includes detailed species information. Users can upload their own photographs along with sighting information, and experts will help confirm identifications. Sightings are then added to the map for that species, which helps determine where and when butterflies are located in North America.
Another project, Bumble Bee Watch, provides an opportunity to track bumble bees in North America. Much like BAMONA, their website, bumblebeewatch.org, allows users to upload sighting information with a picture. The species are confirmed by experts, and the location is recorded on a species-specific map.
Citizen science projects are a great way to connect to both nature and a supportive community of those passionate about conservation. Most web-based projects are designed to be easy to use, and have helpful supporters to assist with the process of uploading your first sighting. If you haven’t yet participated in a citizen science project, summer is a great time to take some photos of pollinators and share them with the world!
Here’s a video Jack Dickens put together of drone footage of an O’Mara-Newport burn and shots from volunteer workdays – with music by Elizabeth Moen. I hope this inspires you to get out and volunteer!