Wild in the City: Chicagoland's Urban Ecology

Fostering the Next Generation of Citizen Scientists

Since its founding, Chicago has relied on the research and activism of its residents to study, protect and improve its urban ecosystem. A century ago, Wild Birds in City Parks encouraged its readers to record migration data. Many amateur ornithologists took the Walters up on their challenge, as evidenced by a copy of the book that serendipitously found its way to the Urban Wildlife Institute when a staff scientist chanced upon a copy while browsing a thrift store outside Chicago. Inside the back cover of the guide is a fold out migration log to be completed by the reader. UWI’s copy had been penciled in by “Ada Calcutt, Kewanee High School, Kewanee, IL.” A little research revealed that she was a 1909 Kewanee graduate. In recent years, Lincoln Park Zoo has intensified programs to inspire the next generation to create spaces where wildlife can thrive in our urbanizing worlds.  For example, the Partners in Fieldwork program trains middle and high school classes to collect data and share their research with the Urban Wildlife Institute. The Malott Family Research Apprenticeship (RAP) program pairs local high school students with zoo scientists. RAP interns conduct both field and lab-based research, including urban biodiversity monitoring and non-invasive animal stress hormone analysis using fecal and hair samples. The Conservation Ambassadors volunteer program engages teens with zoo conservation initiatives, project planning and leadership development. Through these and other zoo programs, local students have made an impact on the local environment in a myriad of ways.
Use the cards at the bottom of each page to explore various parts of the "A Century of Citizen Science in Lincoln Park" chapter. There will always be a card to take you back to the chapter introduction or you can go back to the Wild in the City overview.

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