Waukesha County

Working with our communities to promote environmental stewardship, provide research and educational opportunities, and create healthier natural areas throughout Waukesha County.

Invertebrate Monitoring Programs

Butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, bumble bees, and moths. Join our staff and experienced invertebrate enthusiasts to learn more about these essential pollinators and flying insects! 

Questions? Email our Conservation Biologist.


Asian Clams • Freshwater Mussels

Butterflies • Dragonflies & Damselflies
Raising Galerucella Beetles

Program Location Date Time Register
Help Raise Retzer's Beetles  Retzer Nature Center (info) Help Retzer Nature Center raise Galerucella beetles for the County's Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol program! Get started: Email our AIS Coordinator.
Dragonfly & Damselfly Count Muskego Park (info) June 26 1 - 3 pm Register
Butterfly Annual Survey Retzer Nature Center (info) July 1 10 am - noon Register
Asian Clam Monitoring Mapleton Community Center (directions) - Ashippun River July 11 1 - 3 pm Register
Dragonfly & Damselfly Count Muskego Park (info) July 24 1 - 3 pm Register
Asian Clam Monitoring UW-Field Station at Scuppernong Creek (directions) July 25 1 - 3 pm Register
Freshwater Mussel Monitoring TBD July 26 9 - 11 am Register
Dragonfly & Damselfly Count Muskego Park (info) Aug 21 1 - 3 pm Register
Freshwater Mussel Monitoring TBD Aug 30 9 - 11 am Register


Bumble Bee Survey Program
Did you know that Wisconsin is home to 20 different species of bumble bee? Learn the basics of bumble bee identification, ecology, and how you can help monitor their populations! Recommended age 13+.

Butterfly Annual Survey
Join us on our annual summer butterfly survey with a brief indoor presentation then go outside to identify and count butterflies observed at Retzer Nature Center. Data will be submitted to WisconsinButterflies.org. Bring your own binoculars or use Retzer’s (limited quantity available).

Dragonfly & Damselfly Survey Program
Join our staff and experts from the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society to survey for dragonflies and damselflies! Recommended age 13+. 

Dragonfly & Damselfly Survey (ADULT ONLY) Program
Especially for ages 18+ only. Join our staff and experts from the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society to survey for dragonflies and damselflies!

Asian Clam Survey
Come help County staff survey a section of the Oconomowoc River for the invasive Asian Clam. Training on identification will be provided so come lend a hand and have some fun while you help out! Bring water shoes or other shoes that can get wet and sunscreen. Dress to be in the water. Recommended age 13+.

Freshwater Mussel Monitoring Training 
Did you know that over half of Wisconsin's 52 native mussel species (also known as clams) are listed as species of greatest conservation need? Threats like habitat alteration (dams, siltation) and the presence of invasive mussels (zebra mussels) pose major threats to the existence of our native mussels. Join Waukesha County Parks and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s Mussel Biologists at Mukwonago County Park in the Mukwonago River watershed to learn more about our native mussels and how you can help survey for mussels that occur Waukesha County’s waterways! At this training, you will learn about mussels’ critical importance to our waterways, their unique lifecycle, and what characteristics to use to help identify them. Participants will learn how to identify and make observations using the iNaturalist app, which uploads data directly to the WDNR’s Wisconsin Mussel Monitoring Program. Data collected from this project will help us better understand the population health of this threatened group of species. Recommended age 13+. 

Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Program - Raising Beetles
Join Jeanne Scherer-UW Madison Extension Statewide Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Coordinator and Amanda Schmitz -Waukesha County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator to learn about the biocontrol process and how you can get involved in raising beetles at Retzer Nature Center or even at home this summer to help manage purple loosestrife in Waukesha County. 

What can a tiny beetle do that gallons of herbicides can’t when it comes to managing purple loosestrife crowding into our wetlands and ditches? Introduced to the U.S. as part of a carefully studied and controlled process in the mid-1990s, two species of Galerucella beetles have helped Wisconsin manage the invasive wetland plant. Volunteers have been essential to the process by helping rear them. Beetles and volunteers have helped us reduce the risks and costs of chemical control and the difficulty of manual control, especially in large wetlands, for over 25 years! 

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