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Iowa DNR searching for volunteers to monitor bald eagle nests
Department will host virtual training workshop for interested volunteers. Monitors especially needed in Linn and Johnson Counties, among others
Iowa has more than 500 known active bald eagle nests across the state, plus more with unknown statuses — and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking help with keeping tabs on them all.
Community science volunteers have helped monitor the state’s eagle population since 2006. Last year, monitors collected data on roughly 290 of Iowa’s bald eagle nests.
“With more than 1,000 wildlife species in the state, we just don’t have enough staff in the DNR to adequately monitor all the vulnerable species that need attention,” said Stephanie Shepherd, the Iowa DNR’s volunteer wildlife monitoring program coordinator, in an announcement. “This is where community scientists play a crucial role.”
Monitors are especially needed in the following counties, although volunteers from across the state are welcome:
Monitors would need a pair of binoculars and preferably a spotting scope — which is a type of small telescope. The gig requires around six hours of work between March and July each year to visit the nests, conduct the surveys and submit the data.
The department will host a live online training workshop for volunteers interested in monitoring bald eagle nests across the state. It will be held via Zoom on Feb. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. Participants will learn about the program and how to get involved.
Those interested can register through the Iowa DNR’s volunteer wildlife monitoring program website.
The workshop will be limited to 25 households and requires a $5 tuition, plus fees. Registration will close on Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. or whenever the 25-household threshold has been reached.
Brittney J. Miller is the Energy & Environment Reporter for The Gazette and a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.
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