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How to Become a Citizen Naturalist

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January 24, 2011

FARGO, N.D. - Anyone who is concerned about the environment and wants to make a difference can become a citizen naturalist. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has introduced a project called Wildlife Watch in which individuals, groups and families are invited to observe nature and share their observations.

NWF naturalist David Mizejewski says for many it's a passion - or it could be just a hobby.

"A citizen naturalist is really just somebody who enjoys nature and the natural world and sort of as a hobby goes outside into nature and makes observations and learns a little bit more about the world around them."

Through the Wildlife Watch website, people can download a list of plants and animals to watch for in their state, he says, and then share an account of their experience.

"You can start looking at what species people are seeing from year to year - what numbers and things like that. It can be used to determine how populations might be changing or see if is there something affecting one species versus another."

In addition to making observations in nature, Mizejewski says citizen naturalists can take on projects, such as cleaning up a park or stream and teaching a class what they have seen.

Information about becoming a citizen naturalist is available at www.nwf.org.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND