White Bear Lake, MN – Wild Spotter is a Nationwide program developed in partnership with Wildlife Forever, the U.S. Forest Service and University of Georgia. The free program and mobile app engages and empowers the public to help find, map and prevent invasive species and has now received an award of excellence from the Southern Regional Extension Forestry.
Southern Regional Extension Forestry (SREF) mission is to identify, prescribe and implement a mix of education and technical services that increase the efficiency of forestry programs in the United States. For their extension Awards Program they selected Wild Spotter as an Award Winner in the Computer Software and/or Website category.
Since its creation, the Wild Spotter App has tallied 951 downloads and 497 reports of invasive species in 9 different National Forests.
“Download the app and join the team of citizen scientists all across the country who are now the eyes and ears protecting our favorite wild places from the spread of invasive species.” said Dane Huinker, Conservation Program Manager at Wildlife Forever. “Our volunteers are making a huge impact because the simple act of reporting an early sighting can save resource managers countess hours and funding otherwise spent on controlling a much larger infestation. Hunters, anglers, hikers, and other outdoor recreationalists have been an untapped resource for too long in the battle against these harmful invaders.”
“Wild Spotter is an incredibly powerful tool”, said Mike Ielmini, National Invasive Species Program Manager for the U.S. Forest Service. “The Service manages over 193 million acres of public land and controlling the spread of invasive species presents a tremendous challenge. Using volunteer reported data collected through the Wild Spotter app allows our staff to prioritize control efforts to protect the natural resources we all enjoy.”