Bumble Bee Brigade

As home to 12 bumble bee species (including the Federally endangered rusty-patched bumble bee), the Arboretum offers presentations and field time to learn about the identification, life histories, and ecology of these important pollinators. Volunteers use photography to document species present, flower visitation, phenology, and nests. Photos and data are submitted to Bumble Bee Brigade, a citizen-based monitoring project hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Bumble Bee Brigade also offers online and in-person trainings, many web resources, and verification of identification.

The Arboretum also collaborates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Xerces Society on bumble bee conservation and outreach.

Bumble Bee Brigade website»


Citizen scientists have monitored a trail of bluebird nest boxes at the Arboretum since 1988. During the breeding season (April–August), nest boxes are monitored weekly for eggs and chicks.

Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin website»


Avid birders collect data on breeding and migratory birds at the Arboretum and many other locations, which they submit to eBird, a global tool for the birding community.

eBird website»


Arboretum rangers, naturalists, and volunteer stewards monitor phenology following Aldo Leopold’s studies from 1935–46. This enduring practice provides valuable information about seasonal changes in plants and animals and addresses questions about impacts of a changing climate.

Dane County Butterfly Monitoring Program

The Dane County Butterfly Monitoring Program is part of a nationwide program to understand butterfly emergence and distribution patterns. The program involves remote and in-person trainings to learn how to identify and survey the 97 Dane County species.

University of Wisconsin Urban Canid Project

This wildlife monitoring project relies on citizen participation and embraces public outreach. Coyotes and foxes are vital to ecosystem health, even in urban environments, and the UW Urban Canid Project strives to help humans and urban canids coexist peacefully. The Arboretum is one of many Madison monitoring sites.

Urban Canid Project website»

Stream Health

In collaboration with the Rock River Coalition, Water Action Volunteers, and the Madison Metropolitan Sewage District, volunteers are collecting vital information related to the health of streams that flow through the Arboretum into Lake Wingra.

Snapshot Wisconsin

Snapshot Wisconsin is a statewide volunteer-based Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources program that monitors wildlife using trail cameras. The Arboretum hosts two cameras to help us learn about animal behavior here. The photos become part of a statewide database.

Snapshot Wisconsin website»

Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey

The Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey monitors the status, distribution, and long-term population trends of Wisconsin’s twelve frog and toad species. The survey is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. The Arboretum is a partner site.

Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey website»

Bat Monitoring

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources relies on citizen scientists to help monitor bats at many sites statewide, including the Arboretum.

Bat monitoring website»