The number of insects in the world has an estimated count of 900,000, representing roughly 80% of the world’s species. They have important jobs to do such as pollination, decomposition, and providing food for other creatures. Because of the different functions they may have in an ecosystem, insects make great bioindicators, revealing if there is poor water quality, showing if there is a change in habitat, or a loss of biodiversity.


Upcoming Citizen Science Programs

Citizen Science: Fireflies, Nature’s Silent Fireworks
Tuesday, May 29 | 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Join us as we delve into the mysterious world of these luminescent beetles. Learn interesting firefly facts and fiction, discover more about our firefly populations, and the environmental factors affecting firefly habitats. Then, participate in Firefly Watch, an important citizen science project you can complete at Schlitz Audubon, or in your own backyard.
Registration is required.
Free with membership or admission.

Citizen Science: Butterfly Count
Saturday, June 23 | 9:00am – 12:00pm *
Saturday, June 23 | 12:30pm – 4:00pm *

Put on your hiking boots and hit the trails with one of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center’s naturalists as we spend the day hiking to find and identify butterflies for the North American Butterfly Association Butterfly Count project. A morning and afternoon session are being offered for those who can’t be out with us the whole day. Please bring a portable lunch if staying for both sessions. A $3 donation to the North American Butterfly Association is recommended. * Rain Date: Saturday, July 1.
Registration is required. 
Free with membership or admission

Citizen Science: Moth Watch
Wednesday, July 25 | 8:00pm – 10:00pm
As part of National Moth Week, visitors will have the opportunity to learn how moths differ from their daytime cousins, butterflies and why they are so important to have in the world. Then we will go outside to visit bait trees and Ultraviolet light station, used to attract moths, to see what creatures maybe living here at Schlitz Audubon. Bring along a camera to document what we may see.
Registration is required.
Free with membership or admission.



Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Found at Center

Schlitz Audubon recently confirmed multiple Rusty Patched Bumble Bees (Bombus affinis) on our property. This bee is the only Federally Endangered Species (effective March 21, 2017) within Milwaukee County and is listed as a Species of Special Concern in Wisconsin. Center staff has been in contact with the US fish and Wildlife Service, and we are developing a plan to improve habitat for this endangered species. Read more.




Fireflies light up our summer nights. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot these fascinating insects. Learn how to identify and count fireflies in your own backyard for this important yet simple Citizen Science project. Help researchers learn more about our firefly populations, distribution, and the environmental factors affecting firefly habitats. Learn more about Firefly Watch here


Monarch Butterflies at the Center

Schlitz Audubon has undertaken massive land rehabilitation efforts over the past few decades. This includes planting native prairie flowers for adult monarchs and milkweed for caterpillars. Volunteers have participated in Monarch tagging programs. These numbered tags, once found, help inform scientists about migratory patterns of Monarch Butterflies.


At Your Home

One of the best things anyone can do to provide Monarch Butterfly habitat is to plant milkweed in their yard. Caterpillars munch exclusively on milkweed and planting this provides them with vital sustenance. For a more in-depth exploration of Monarch information, read the feature article in our summer 2015 edition of Panorama.

For more regional information visit Wisconsin Butterflies.


Future Insect Monitoring Projects

As resources permit, the Center is looking to include Dragonflies, Ladybugs, and Bumblebees in future citizen science projects.  If you are interested in participating in or assisting these, please contact Moya Mowbray.



In the Center’s Shop

Schlitz Audubon’s shop carries a rotating variety of books relating to insects and their relatives, such as the below titles:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders
Field Guide to Butterflies of North America by Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman
Dragonflies of the North Woods by Kurt Mead

Electronic Resources

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation | Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.
The Great Sunflower Project | Identifying where pollinators need help and helping.
e-Butterfly | eButterfly is an international, data driven project dedicated to butterfly biodiversity, conservation, and education.


Citizen Science at the Center

Amphibians, Reptiles, and Fish