McHenry County Conservation District  •  18410 US Highway 14 •  Woodstock, IL 60098  •  815-338-MCCD(6223)

  Wildlife Monitors


Volunteers engage in citizen scientist monitoring projects with outside agencies to track the health and sustainability of butterflies, dragonflies, bluebirds, birds and frogs at Conservation District sites. Monitoring provides a profile of past and current native species populations that helps researchers understand which species are expanding, which are remaining stable and which are declining. This gives land managers a basis for making intelligent choices about habitat preservation and management of natural resources. Please see below for specific monitoring opportunities.

 For more information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 815.338.6223 x 1229 or

  • QUALIFICATIONS: Minimum age 18. In some programs, children ages 14 and up may monitor under the supervision of an adult guardian. a registered District volunteer to monitor at District sites; physically capable of carrying out the duties of the position they choose, the ability to walk over uneven ground off trail is necessary for field work; responsible, reliable and available at the times required by the position.
  • EXPERIENCE: See specific monitoring agency for requirements. Training is provided through the agency.
  • TIME COMMITMENT/SCHEDULE: Varies – flexible/seasonal
  • LOCATION: McHenry County Conservation District Sites

Butterfly Monitoring

Baltimore Checkerspot by Bob WilliamsTrained volunteers monitor the health of butterfly populations at an assigned District site by collecting and submitting data each summer. These results assist land managers in more effective conservation of the state's butterflies. The monitoring commitment includes: conducting at least 6 site visits between June 1 and August 7; continuing for multiple seasons; spending 1 to 2 hours walking the route per visit; learning to identify 25 butterfly species the first year; submitting data at the end of the season. Pictured: Baltimore Checkerspot by Bob Williams.

Coordinating Agency: Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network 
Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project

Experience required: None. Training for volunteers is held twice a year and ongoing support is provided from network leaders.

To become a monitor: visit

Calling Frog Survey

Chorus frogsVolunteers collect and submit data on the abundance and distribution of frogs and toads at District sites. By monitoring amphibian populations, population changes and the effects of land management practices on amphibians can be detected. After attending a training workshop, volunteers commit to 3 site visits per season for multiple seasons. Pictured: Chorus frogs.

Coordinating Agency: Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project

Experience required: None. Training is provided at a late winter workshop.  

To become a monitor: visit


Dragonfly Monitoring

Twelve-spotted skimmer by Bob WilliamsVolunteers monitor dragonfly and damselfly populations at District sites and the data is shared with the Dragonfly Monitoring Network. The time commitment includes: attendance at one spring workshop per year; learn to identify key dragonfly and damselfly species; conduct at least 6 site visits between late May and late September; spend 1 to 2 hours walking the route per visit; submit data sheets at the end of the season for addition to the DMN database. Pictured: Twelve-spotted skimmer by Bob Williams.

Coordinating Agency: Dragonfly Monitoring Network, Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project

Experience required: None. A training workshop is offered each spring.

To become a monitor: contact Craig Stettner (847)925-6214 or

Bird Conservation Network

The BCN has been promoting bird conservation and preserving and restoring bird habitat in the Chicago Region for more than a decade. BCN is a coalition of bird clubs, Audubon chapters, ornithological societies and conservation organizations sharing an interest in the conservation of birds.

Coordinating Agency: Bird Conservation Network, Audubon Chicago Region, Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project 

Experience: Volunteer bird monitors should have at least 3 years experience and be able to recognize Illinois birds by sight and sound.

To become a monitor: visit or contact Lee Ramsey at

Bluebird Monitoring

Collecting data on bluebirds


Volunteers actively monitor bluebird nest houses at District sites to collect data on population trends.

Coordinating Agency: McHenry County Conservation District Wildlife Resource Center

Experience required: Interest in and basic knowledge of bluebirds

To become a monitor: contact Sara Denham (815) 728-8307



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