Nature Mapping Jackson Hole is a group of volunteer citizens working collectively to create a long-term dataset containing wildlife observations. When everyone contributes a small amount of data, the end result is enormous. Nature Mapping Jackson Hole strives to fill wildlife observation and distribution needs not already covered by state and federal agencies or local research organizations. Creating a long-term dataset on all species, collecting data on private and public lands and providing able bodies to work collaboratively with other research organizations on projects that lack resources, are niches Nature Mapping is striving to fill in Jackson Hole’s wildlife-rich community. Nature Mapping Jackson Hole was begun in 2009 by a group of dedicated volunteers and local biologists under the Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund. In 2011, a cooperative relationship between the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and the Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund began in order to build on the initial success of the Nature Mapping Jackson Hole program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Goals of Nature Mapping Jackson Hole?
What is Citizen Science?
How Do We Assure Accurate Data?
How Do I Get Involved?
What is Covered in the Certification Training?
When are Certification Trainings Offered?
How Do Specific Projects Work?
Does Nature Mapping Collect Data Outside Teton County, WY?
What are the Benefits to being a Volunteer?
Where can I read current and past Nature Mapping JH Newsletters?
Nature Mapping Jackson Hole is a long-term, citizen science research project with the goals of:
- Keeping common species common (studying all species not just high-profile species or species of concern).
- Increasing citizen’s knowledge of and appreciation for wildlife in Teton County, WY.
- Engaging citizens in long-term wildlife data collection.
- Informing management decisions that favor wildlife sustainability.
Citizen science is using trained community volunteers to collect scientific information/ data. Nature Mapping Jackson Hole is a citizen science project where volunteers collect wildlife observations that are placed in a long-term, retrievable database. This database is shared with agencies, organizations, consultants and individuals to make informed decisions affecting wildlife.
Accuracy in species identification and location is absolutely critical to our project. Thus, our motto is “When in doubt, leave it out”. After data are entered by citizen scientists, they are verified by trained biologists. If these biologists have questions, they check with the citizen scientists and either correct or reject the data as appropriate. Through this data checking process, we maintain a high level of accuracy in our dataset.
Nature Mapping citizen scientists complete a 3 hour certification training session before contributing to the project. Once trained, volunteers are invited to participate in skills trainings to assist in improving their compentency and proficiency as citizen scientists.
Certification training is the first step for those interested in learning more about the Nature Mapping project. Topics covered include: project goals, information needed to make an observation, making observations, how to use our web-based data management system and opportunities available once you become trained. By recording what wildlife you see in your own backyard, during your commute, or while you’re out exploring you can make a big contribution to the project and the data available to decision makers in Jackson Hole. If you would like more information, to register for the next training or more information please contact JHWF Project Coordinator, by email or (307) 739-0968.
We strive to offer certification trainings once a month. Please see the Event Calendar for the next training date.
Nature Mapping Jackson Hole concurrently runs casual and systematic projects. Casual projects are projects where data are collected any day anywhere in Teton County. Protocols for casual data are basic and only require that the observations be both accurate and in Teton County. Casual projects do the most to build up our long-term dataset. Using this data one can capture when species are coming to and going from Jackson Hole. Systematic projects have more extensive protocols and are often limited by geography, time, species or a specific research/ management question. Systematic projects are often conducted in collaboration with a research/ management organization or agency. Please see project pages for specifics on each project.
No. Nature Mapping Jackson Hole has decided to focus our data collection inside of Teton County to make the largest contribution to the county where we live. Pika and wolverine observations made outside of Teton County can be entered into the observation forms for these two species available on respective Pika Project and Wolverine Project pages.
Citizens volunteering their time with the Nature Mapping project all have one thing in common - they really care about wildlife. The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and Nature Mapping JH work to promote ways for the community to live compatibly with wildlife. Nature Mapping volunteers are an important component of this work.
Benefits enjoyed by Nature Mapping volunteers include:
- It’s fun
- By participating, we increase our awareness of our surroundings and wildlife
- By collecting data, volunteers are able help preserve what is special about Jackson Hole - WILDLIFE!
- Your data will/ can be used by elected and agency decision makers to maintain and enhance your wildlife resources in Jackson Hole
- Nature Mapping JH offers continuing trainings which help volunteers gain or upgrade their observation skills. Trainings range from bird, ungulate and track identification to GPS and map reading skills.
- While Nature Mapping is collecting data, we’re also growing a wonderful community of observers, both experts and non-experts alike.
Thank you to Carol and John Harkness for their input on volunteer benefits.
In an effort to share with volunteers the fruits of their labors, we attempt to produce a Nature Mapping JH newseltter twice a year. For a peek at past newsletters, please click on the links below.
Summer 2012 Newsletter
Winter 2012 Newsletter
Summer 2011 Newsletter