The Great Nature Wisconsin principal ecologist has more than 40 years of experience conducting biotic inventories. It is GNWs view that everyone should know what they have on their land in order to leave it in a better condition than when they started.
Bird surveys are best accomplished between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, although special raptor surveys for hawks and owls occur in April. Landowners have the option for GNW to develop an Index of Ecological Condition to give a perspective regarding the effectiveness of their bird habitat management. Grassland, wetland, and savanna bird species composition will be compared to known high quality bird sites, some of which are found on the Places to Visit page.
Plant surveys are best accomplished with a visit three times during the growing season (late April/May; late June/early July; and around Labor Day). These more robust surveys are complemented by developing a Flotistic Quality Index (FQI) for the property. This index gives a landowner an idea of the quality of their plant habitat. For instance, white lady's-slipper orchids are found only in high quality wet-mesic prairies and have a score of10, whereas a dandelion is nearly ubiquitous and has a score of 1. The sum of these species scores divided by the number of species equals an FQI. The higher the number, the higher the quality of the natural community, but scores cannot be compared between natural communities. One-visit surveys are also possible to provide a flavor for the condition of your property.