188: Megan Whatton on The Urban Habitat Network.

Mapping the habitats of wildlife around the world a section at a time.

MeganWhattonMegan is the Urban Habitat Network Manager for The Nature Conservancy. She works with scientists, partners, private landowners, citizen scientists and volunteers to re-imagine their properties as habitat for the benefit of wildlife and people. Most recently she was the volunteer coordinator for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute on the eMammal project to monitor mammal populations in the mid-Atlantic region. Megan has a M.S. Degree in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University and B.S. Degree from Ball State University.

In This Podcast: 

Megan introduces Greg and his listeners to the Nature Conservancy and the Habitat Network Project. This project creates citizen scientists around the globe and is working to map the globe with their data to paint a picture of the wildlife in every part of the world. Megan explains how this project got started and how easy, fun and rewarding being a member of the network can be.


Listen in and learn about:

  • How the Habitat Network all started at Cornell University
  • How the introduction of Google Maps changed everything
  • Who can help participate in the mapping process
  • The first step is habitat.network to login and sign up
  • Find your property or location to record data on and follow the steps online to record
  • How to include the aspects of the property
  • How the network is developed and who is included
  • The kind of data that is connected – residential ecology and socioecological questions
  • How walking the property and observing makes a difference in what is noticed
  • How that changes how we interact with the wildlife
  • How this relates to growing food
  • The resources on the website and how this helps improve sites
  • The networking that is happening all over and how the education is being shared

As well as:

  • Her failure – Learning the process of the habitat network and
  • Her success – Working with citizen scientist to collect data and quashing critics
  • Her drive – Her love of nature and working to protect it, also hearing the stories of the network
  • Her advice – Join the movement, and keep doing what you are doing with urban gardening or urban farming,

Megan’s Book recommendations:   

The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded

How to reach the Habitat Network:

Website: www.habitat.network



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1 Comment

  1. Hi Greg: This project could result in an enormous amount of information as you pointed out on the show. I wish you had asked her about the potential for abuse of this enormous amount of data. I don’t think I could contribute to their info until I was assured in writing this would not end up in the hands of Government surveillance or in corporate sales offices.
    All the Best,
    Pavel Mikoloski

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