How to make your wildlife observations count

For me, it started with something as simple as an odd bird call.

We heard the loud call at dusk and tiptoed into the backyard. I turned on my phone to record the sound and shushed the kids, afraid we would scare away the bird.

(apologies for the video being sideways- I was a bit excited)

A quick text to a birding friend revealed it was a Chuck-will’s-widow and, while it was new to us, it wasn’t as uncommon as we thought. A little curiosity about our backyard resident led to a bit of research and learning for our family. I added the bird to my lifetime birding list (which is admittedly shorter than I’d like it to be). The experience certainly meant something to my family but, beyond observation, would it count to anyone else?

Making our wildlife observations count is the topic of the CREW Trust’s final Strolling Science Seminar this season. Dr. Win Everham will lead us along the trail at Bird Rookery Swamp in Naples for a hands-on learning experience.

Our everyday observations can be scientific and can help conservation efforts. It’s just a matter of knowing how.


One of our volunteers, Tom Mortenson, wanted to learn more about the wildlife in his new Florida home. He set up game cameras, similar to those he had up north, on parts of the CREW Project. That led to his first images of Florida panthers and he now submits the data he collects to the FWC panther biologists. His curiosity led to his contributions as a citizen scientist.

From backyard calls to uncommon sightings, your observations count.

Want to learn how you can also be a citizen scientist? Join us on April 29 at 9 a.m. Tickets are $15 for members, $25 for non-members, and must be purchased in advance (

3 Replies to “How to make your wildlife observations count”

  1. My wife and I were wondering what happened to the large one-eyed alligator (called Ida by some) that we’ve seen several times. Her usual spot is next to the trail a short distance after the boardwalk. Someone told us she had been moved.

    1. Hey, Paul. The alligator of which you speak was not moved by Florida Fish and Wildlife biologist nor the South Florida Water Management District. It’s likely she was pushed out of her usual zone by a rival alligator, but that’s just speculation. For a while we thought she/he was back, but upon closer examination a volunteer discovered that the markings were different. So many mysteries in the swamp!

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