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Community Science Biodiversity Project#

Join our team of community scientists! You will learn how to monitor bird and butterflies and get to explore natural spaces around Fort Collins. No experience is necessary. Trainings are in May every year. Sign up on Engage!  

The Biodiversity Project started in 2015 to collect long-term ecological data that supports the Nature in the City Strategic Plan to maintain "a connected open space network accessible to the entire community that provides a variety of experiences and functional habitat for people, plants, and wildlife." 

How Surveys Work#

Sampling points are in public and private natural spaces including city parks, natural areas, and open spaces in residential and commercial areas. Volunteers visit sampling points and record what they observe.

  • Bird Surveys
    Community scientists will conduct "point count" surveys for birds between 6:00-10:00 a.m. They will spend five minutes listening and looking for birds from a list of 15 species.
  • Butterfly Surveys
    Community scientists will collect butterfly data using the "Pollard walk" method between 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. They will walk along a line and use butterfly nets to capture, identify, and release butterflies from a list of 10 species.


With over 5 years of data collected by both community scientists and professionals, we have growing evidence that urban spaces in Fort Collins that are managed for wildlife host more bird and butterfly biodiversity. We have consistently found that Certified Natural Areas (private land that is managed for wildlife) have higher levels of biodiversity than Residential open spaces (e.g. HOA managed land or green space at Apartment complexes) that are not managed for wildlife. This suggests that through intentional actions of improving wildlife habitat, we can increase biodiversity in the City. 

More info here:  

2014 Ecological Inventory and Assessment Summary 

Jimenez, 2019. Effectiveness of Urban Conservation Programs 

Community Science Data, 2016 

Community Science Data, 2017 

Community Science Data, 2018 

Community Science Data, 2020 

Community Science Data, 2021