Monitor Opportunities



Monarch butterfly on milkweed plant

Bird Survey


The Bird Conservation Network (BCN) works to raise awareness of the conservation needs of birds throughout our region by educating the public and working with policy makers and landowners to improve bird habitat.  The BCN Survey is an ongoing, year-round monitoring of bird populations intended to inform conservation and restoration efforts. Volunteer monitors work independently using two professionally designed protocols: point counts and transect counts. Results are reported to the eBird database.


Frog Monitoring


In the recent past, we had scant knowledge of the status and distribution of frogs and toads within the Chicago region. Thanks to the Calling Frog Survey, over 150 dauntless data collectors are trained to monitor the Chicago region’s wetlands in search of the 13 species of frogs and toads that live here. Some of us also look for salamanders, snakes, and turtles.


Butterfly Monitoring


The Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network is a diverse group of volunteers who identify and count butterflies on more than 3,000 routes on sites in Illinois. Volunteers collect data that are valuable to scientists, researchers and land managers in evaluating how restoration practices and other changes affect butterfly populations.


Dragonfly Monitoring Network


Volunteers monitor dragonfly and damselfly populations at public and private sites in the tri-state area. The data is shared with local naturalists and landowners.


Plants of Concern


Administered by staff and volunteers of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Plants of Concern trains volunteers to monitor populations of rare plants that are threatened or endangered here in Illinois.  Information about habitat quality and disturbance levels helps reveal the factors that influence rare plant populations.




BeeSpotter is a partnership between citizen-scientists and the professional science community designed to educate the public about pollinators by engaging them in a data collection efforts. It is a web-based portal at the University of Illinois for learning about honey bees and bumble bees and for contributing data to a statewide effort for baseline information on population status of these insects. The best way to get involved is to get out there with your camera and capture some good pictures of bees! In order to get your bee pictures on our website, create an account and then add your bee spotting.


Project Squirrel


Join Project Squirrel, a citizen science program for all ages. Participation only takes a few minutes, simply log on to tell us about the squirrels in your neighborhood. Join people all across Chicagoland as we learn more about the ecology of our neighborhoods through the eyes of squirrels.

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County