Hundreds of volunteers and dozens of organizations involved with natural resources came together March 22-24, from all across Wisconsin.
A collaboration between the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program and the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network hosted the first State Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers. The summit offered workshops and certifications. There were more than 40 speakers, and dozens of informational booths and volunteer opportunities.
Organizers said there was something for everyone, be it an interest in research or writing, data entry or field work.
"Why should people be involved?" asked Jeanette Kelly, Citizen Science director of Beaver Creek Reserve. "There's a couple different reasons. One, we no longer can depend upon our state agency or county government to be able to have enough staff and enough dollars to go out and protect and help conserve our natural resources. and our natural resources belong to all of us and therefore we all have to take part in trying to help protect them."
The main mission of the conference was to not only connect people with the outdoors, but to educate and spark interest in natural resources and conservation. The event was co-hosted by the Wisconsin DNR and UW-Extension office.