Published on March 30, 2018

Seeking Citizen Science Volunteers for 2018 Season

Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Volunteers

Now that it's officially spring, our thoughts have turned in earnest to planning and preparation for the 2018 season of our Wildlife Inventory and Monitoring Project.

Here at Felix Neck, we monitor odonates (dragonflies and damselflies); coastal waterbirds, including piping plovers, terns, and oystercatchers; salamanders; horseshoe crabs; and osprey. This data not only helps to understand population numbers of certain species across the state, but also helps with permitting regulations, regulatory success, and even ocean mapping in some cases. 

None of this work would be possible without the support of the dozens of dedicated citizen scientist who volunteer to help us each year. 

Citizen Science Opportunities & Training 

At Felix Neck, we offer many opportunities to participate in wildlife research and protection efforts as a citizen science volunteer. First-time volunteers are required to complete a training session for each program they wish to participate in (osprey and/or horseshoe crab). Veteran volunteers are also encouraged to attend a training session as a refresher.

You can register online for training sessions or call 508-627-4850 to sign up. All trainings require preregistration. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Liz Dengenis by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9412.

Osprey Monitoring

Osprey © John Moniz
Osprey © John Moniz

Osprey monitors are assigned a nest site that they are expected to check a few times a month for the duration of the nesting season (April–September). We work with osprey researcher Rob Bierragaard and lead nest monitor Dick Jennings to train volunteers and complete a census of breeding pairs and fledglings each year.

2018 Volunteer Trainings

  • Thursday, March 29, 5:00–7:00 pm
  • Saturday, March 31, 1:00–3:00 pm

Register Online

If you were an osprey monitor in previous years and have a specific pole you would like to monitor, please let Liz Dengenis know; she'll do her best to accommodate you.

Horseshoe Crab Surveys

Horseshoe Crabs Spawning

Volunteers conduct surveys of Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs (Limulus polyphemus) during the new and full moons of April, May, and June, counting these crabs as they come up on the beach to spawn. After attending training, volunteers are expected to complete at least two surveys.

2018 Volunteer Trainings

  • Thursday, April 19, 1:00–3:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 5, 1:00–3:00 pm

Register Online

Shorebird Monitoring

Piping plover with chicks © John Van de Graaff
© John Van de Graaff

In spring, our Coastal Waterbird Program (CWP) staff and volunteers start eagerly anticipating the arrival of nesting Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns. By the end of March, we aim to have all the suitable nesting habitat at our monitored sights symbolically fenced and ready for the birds to start digging scrapes and laying eggs.

With 18 sites in total, our shorebird monitors spend the summer visiting each site many times a week to monitor nesting shorebirds, fix fencing, and educate the public about these seasonal birds that call our beaches home. If you love the beach and these iconic nesting shorebirds, we invite you to join our efforts and volunteer with the CWP!

To get involved in our Coastal Waterbird Program, contact Suzan Bellincampi by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9400.