Citizen Science

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Interested in the natural world and its inhabitants?  Want to contribute to meaningful science or hone your naturalist skills?  Simply looking for a different excuse to get outside?

If your answer is “YES” to any or all of the above, please consider volunteering for one of Steep Rock Association’s citizen science projects.  The data you collect improves our knowledge as well as yours of biodiversity in the area.  If the joy of actively conducting research and becoming intimate with the local environment isn’t enough, take pleasure in your findings being analyzed by professional scientists working to address large scale, crucial issues.  Nationwide programs like the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey, FrogWatch USA, NestWatch, and the Christmas Bird Count are incredible opportunities to become engaged and do something meaningful in your community this year!  SRA initiated an annual macroinvertebrate sampling effort in fall 2017 and a bustling winter of science included our first cottontail pellet survey.  Before long, in spring/summer 2018, we will be looking for volunteers to conduct our first marsh bird survey.  Please frequent the “Programs and Events” tab to view and register for upcoming projects with us.

Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey

Spend a winter morning counting bald eagles along the Shepaug River.

Scanning for eagles from the Reich Bridge in Hidden Valley Preserve as part of the nationwide Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey

Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey Report     Note: One adult eagle was observed at the northern end of Hidden Valley Preserve.



New England Cottontail Pellet Sampling

Stoop through young forest in search of rabbit pellets.

Pellet piles left in depressions from a resting cottontail

You will never see folks so happy to be holding a bag of poop

Marsh Bird Survey

Broadcast calls to illicit a response from secretive wetland birds.


FrogWatch USA

Listen for breeding frogs and toads after sunset on our preserves.

FrogWatchers recording weather data before listening for breeding anurans at a wetland preserve
















Monitor nest boxes and record data on the breeding birds that use them.

Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) clutch in a nest box seen with an inspection mirror     Photo credit: Alexis Barbalinardo (NestWatcher)

Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) nestlings in a nest box     Note: The runt on the right will likely fledge later than the others.     Photo credit: Lisa Breese (NestWatcher)

Macroinvertebrate Sampling

Net and identify bugs from a river riffle.

Caddisfly larvae combat current by attaching their protective cases to substrate

Identifying and sorting the catch

Christmas Bird Count

Embark on a birding excursion to census species.

Citizen scientists birding from Meeker Swamp’s viewing platform