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Energy & Environment

Loon Symposium Highlights Role of Citizen Scientists

Mitch Mode

A conference on loons this weekend put the spotlight on citizen involvement in scientific research. 

Wildlife rehabilitator Marge Gibson of Antigo’s Raptor Education Group says the two-day Loon Symposium was unique in including citizens that collect observational data on loons.

“They are providing such a huge benefit to loon observation, and even giving this information back to the researchers. And that to me was so exciting to see.”

The conference also drew a wide range of researchers from different parts of loon breeding range.  Chapman University researcher Walter Piper, who runs the Loon Project out of Oneida County, says scientists from New England offered insights on how to address conservation challenges like the common use of lead fishing tackle. 

“So we got to say okay, here’s what’s worked in New England, and maybe we could sort of emulate that in Wisconsin, so it sort of got the wheels turning in lots of people’s heads.”

The Loon Symposium took place at Northland College in Ashland.  

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