Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Wildlife Habitat and Monitoring

Volunteer Wildlife Monitors help to install, monitor, clean, maintain, and expand various kinds of human-built habitat, including bluebird, kestrel, wood duck, purple martin, and bat boxes. These wildlife boxes provide additional nesting sites to birds, bats, and other animal species whose native habitat has been lost elsewhere due to human development. Thanks to volunteer monitors, Dane County Parks is home to several hundred wildlife nesting boxes at various park locations. 


Details & Requirements

Currently, there is no formal training hosted by Dane County Parks. Volunteer monitors must match with Partner Organizations (see below) to determine best monitoring practices and submit seasonal monitoring data as applicable. 

Volunteers interested in nest box/ house placement on a Dane County Park property must connect with a partner organization listed below. If there is not a relevant partner listed, please reach out to the Dane County Parks Volunteer Program.  

In order to have a successful wildlife habitat and monitoring program, all volunteers must:

  • Review partner resources
  • Follow partner guidelines regarding best practices
  • Submit all monitoring data to each organization, as applicable. Final annual summaries can be submitted to Dane County Parks as well as each partner organization. 

Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin (BRAW)

Madison Audubon

Wisconsin Bat Program (WBP)

Wisconsin Purple Martin Association (WPMA)

Wisconsin Waterfowl Association (WWA)

Box Monitoring

  • Monitor your installed nest box throughout the season, following best practices determined by partner organization (frequency of monitoring, cleaning out animal debris, etc.). Provide maintenance as needed. 
  • Collect data and submit to partner organization, as requested. 
  • Submit annual summary to partner organization (if requested) and Dane County Parks at the end of each calendar year. 

Box Maintenance

  • Provide maintenance to nest boxes as needed annually, as determined by partner organization. This may include: 
    • Cleaning out boxes.
    • Straightening / re-installing posts or poles that nest boxes are on.
    • Removing and repairing nest boxes. 

End of Volunteer Role
If a volunteer can no longer commit to monitoring and maintaining their boxes, they must notify the Dane County Parks Volunteer Program and complete these steps:

  • The volunteer should look to find a replacement monitor for their nest boxes. 
  • If the volunteer cannot find a replacement monitor, park staff will try to recruit a replacement from an interest list.
  • If staff cannot find a replacement, the volunteer monitor must pull all nest boxes they monitor from the property and return them to Dane County Parks. If the boxes are a monitor's personal property, those should be kept or donated by the volunteer. 
  • Dane County Parks reserves the right to remove unclaimed nest boxes from any park property if unmonitored nest boxes are found and staff are unable to make contact with a volunteer. 

Applicants must be registered Dane County Parks Volunteers with a Volunteer Registration Form (PDF) on file and also submit a Wildlife Habitat Permit Application (PDF).

  1. Applications should be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to proposed start date. Staff are available to discuss your proposed activities prior to submitting your application.
  2. Dane County Park staff will review the application and will either approve or deny the request. Staff will contact you if additional information is needed.
  3. If approved, you may begin nest box installation. You must keep your approved permit with you at all times while working on Dane County Park properties.




If you have questions about wildlife monitoring activities, contact: 

Claire Lamberg
Land & Water Volunteer Coordinator 
(608) 516-3703