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By Kathy Jones (Volunteer Manager – Ontario Programs and Canadian Lakes Loon Survey) and Dr. Doug Tozer (Director – Waterbirds and Wetlands), Birds Canada

Birds Canada is seeking new volunteers to participate in the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program. This long-term monitoring program coordinates hundreds of volunteer Citizen Scientists throughout the Great Lakes basin of Ontario and the U.S. Volunteers collect information about the presence and abundance of birds and frogs in Great Lakes marshes to contribute to our understanding of these species and their habitat needs.

Surveyors get to place boots on the ground, build valuable skills, and collect data — all while enjoying nature and watching their marshes grow through seasons and years. It’s a unique and rewarding opportunity to support the study and conservation of some of North America’s most important – and threatened – ecosystems. To help you get started, Birds Canada provides all new participants with training handbooks and audio files (CD, MP3), and program staff and Volunteer Regional Coordinators are available to answer your questions.

Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program volunteer Photo: Emma Buck

One silver lining of the pandemic for many people has been the opportunity to spend more time outside and strengthen their connection to nature. If that sounds like you, then you’re a great candidate for the Marsh Monitoring Program. The program’s frog surveys are a great choice for new naturalists, and its marsh bird surveys provide a new opportunity for birders who have spent a few years polishing their skills.

Quote from Giovanna Reising, Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program volunteer

You can learn more about the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program by visiting You can also find out more by reading the most recent edition of the program’s newsletter, The Marsh Monitor, which explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the program so far. Finally, check out the list of free webinars providing information for participants and potential participants. If you are ready to dive in and volunteer, please contact Kathy Jones (

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