Citizen Science at Felix Neck

Walant Family horseshoe crab citizen scientists at Felix Neck
 

The landscape and wildlife of Massachusetts is changing for a variety of reasons. Climate change, development, and invasive species, among other factors, are altering the Commonwealth's lands and the plants and animals that depend on these habitats.

Taking inventory and monitoring of specific wildlife and plants provides us with information on how well our wildlife sanctuaries represent the biological diversity found in Massachusetts and provides information on changes over time.

Get Involved

Felix Neck offers many opportunities to participate in wildlife research and protection efforts as a citizen science volunteer. 

We are one of many wildlife sanctuaries participating in the wildlife sanctuary Statewide Inventory and Monitoring Project, which helps Mass Audubon evaluate and provide the basis for future conservation action though land management decisions, advocacy, and education.

Want to Volunteer? 

Contact the coordinator for the project you're interested in. We provide all training for individuals and groups. 

For the Coastal Waterbird Program

Please contact Suzan Bellincampi by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9400.

For all other programs

Please contact Liz Dengenis by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9412. 

Our Citizen Science Projects

At Felix Neck, we are focused on assessing the populations of Osprey, horseshoe crabs, breeding shorebirds, odonates (dragonflies & damselflies), and salamanders.

Osprey Monitoring

Ospreys are nesting all around the Island. Each year, we have more than 50 volunteers monitoring nests on a bi-weekly basis to collect important data on these birds. Nest monitors and interested persons should watch—from a safe viewing distance—for little heads popping up in the nest over the next few weeks. Once they have hatched, osprey chicks take around six weeks to fledge, which is the stage in their lives where they first learn to fly. As late July approaches, you’ll see the chicks "helicoptering" as they hover over of the nest, beating their wings to help them learn to fly.

Horseshoe Crab Surveys

We need volunteers to count these crabs as they come onto beaches to spawn during the new and full moons of April, May, and June at high tide. Volunteers head to the beach to search for mating pairs, tracks, and nests formed by these ancient marine animals. The data collected during these surveys is submitted to the Division of Marine Fisheries, which uses the data to determine best conservation and management practices for horseshoe crabs and the horseshoe crab fishery.

Coastal Waterbird Monitoring

Our Coastal Waterbird Program is looking for volunteer shorebird monitors! If you have a few hours a week, you can help us protect and monitor threatened shorebirds such as Piping Plovers, terns, and American Oystercatchers. You'll learn about the seasonal birds that call our beaches home while contributing to one of our important citizen science programs. Training and equipment are provided.

Odonate (Dragonfly & Damselfly) Surveys 

Odonates are the group of insects comprised of dragonflies and damselflies. These surveys begin at the end of May as odonates begin to emerge, and they are conducted every 2-3 weeks through September. Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn more about these incredible insects, identify various local species, and help us collect important data. Training and equipment provided.

Salamander Surveys

Salamander surveys kick off in April and run through October. Volunteers conduct surveys every week to every other week, depending on the season. With two monitoring sites at the Felix Neck, we are always looking for help! Survey times and dates can be flexible to work with your schedule.