Citizen Science

Indigo Bunting
Sean Fitzgerald

Indigo Bunting

Citizen science projects are partnerships between the public and professional scientists, creating one of the world's largest research teams. Citizens learn about nature, science, and conservation by assisting in real scientific studies. The projects at TRAC are focused on monitoring the changes in biodiversity as the site is rehabilitated.

Anyone interested in learning more - in becoming a "Citizen Scientist" - please sign up for any of our upcoming programs.

Amphibian Watch
Every Third Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM from June through September

Amphibians are a barometer of the health of the environments we all share. Because amphibians use wetland habitats during at least part of their life cycle and because they have permeable skin, ecologists believe that declines in amphibian populations and malformations may serve as early warning indicators of broader changes in ecosystems.

Texas Amphibian Watch gives you a chance to help us understand what frogs, toads, and salamanders are telling us about the world around us.

Chimney Swift Monitoring
Every Third Thursday, 7:45pm, June - September

Small, sleek, bluish-black with silver-gray throats, chimney swifts have been called "flying cigars" and "bows and arrows." Their stiff, acrobatic movements alternate with long, graceful sweeps of flight as they scour the skies for flying insects.. Unable to perch or stand upright as songbirds do, chimney swifts are uniquely equipped to roost clinging to vertical surfaces. Although they will occasionally roost in the open, chimney swifts prefer the safety of an enclosed area such as a chimney, air shaft or abandoned building. It is in these inaccessible locations that they roost, build their nests, raise their families and congregate prior to migration.
As a result of deforestation and the loss of large hollow trees as natural roosting and nesting sites, chimney swifts adapted to using man-made structures.. However, the use of metal chimneys and the increasing desire of homeowners to cap their chimneys have made chimney swift roosts rare.. Since each breeding pair must have a site of their own to raise their young, suitable nesting sites are harder to find.

Join Audubon staff and volunteer, Natha Taylor as we monitor our own on-site Chimney Swift tower.

Texas Turtle Watch
Every Third Thursday, 5:30pm, June - September

Texas Turtle Watch is a citizen science program developed to collect data on three native turtle species whose population numbers are poorly understood. In efforts to learn more about turtles, the information collected by citizens is critical. Assessing basking turtle populations through trained citizen watch groups of all ages and interests will help scientists create a knowledge base about turtle populations in Texas, which will lead to better conservation efforts and strategies. The three turtle groups of focus are sliders (genus Trachemys), cooters (genus Pseudemys) and softshells (genus Apalone).

TRAC is a partner with many organizations

  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology (eBird monitoring of the bird population and the Great Backyard Bird Count)
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (Mussel Watch program)
  • Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center (Invaders of Texas Program, to detect and report invasive species)- Nine people attended our first Invaders of Texas workshop on March 28, 2009. Participants learned the problem with exotic invasive plants, how to identify them, and how to report a sighting. Matthew Mortimer won a new GPS unit for being the first participant to enter 50 validated sightings.

Anyone can be a member of these projects and participants are given thorough training for all of them. For more information, please contact 214-309-5801.

Copyright  2013 National Audubon Society, Inc