Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program is coordinated by Clark County Public Health’s Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt.

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Wings to Weather in Your Neighborhood

Do you love to dig in the dirt or watch storm clouds roll in? Do your children love to feed birds and hunt for ladybugs? If your family is curious about the outdoors, tell us what you see in your backyard! Join WildWatch, a family-friendly, citizen science initiative of Clark County’s Green Neighbors program. You’ll have fun counting bees, tracking storms, measuring snowfall or keeping vigil over birds’ nests, and you’ll advance science with your observations.

You don’t have to go far to help out. Walk out your door and choose one or two of these simple observations. All of the sites accept your information online and can be done in your own backyard. You can invest as much or as little time as you choose.

WildWatch is brought to you through a partnership between Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach and the City of Vancouver, with support from the Backyard Bird Shop.

Get involved


Related articles: Volunteer Opportunities | Become a Master Composter/Recycler

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Ladybug Lovers

wildwatch ladybugSpots or dots or not? Our very own North American ladybugs are becoming scarce and invaders from other places are more common. Help scientists track the disappearing nine-spotted ladybug and others.

Lost Ladybug Project

What you will do: In early summer, find and photograph some ladybugs. Some watchers capture them with a net or black light. Taking a photo is easy if you slow down the bugs by putting them in the refrigerator for a short time. You can upload the photos on the website.

Time commitment: Enough time to find, photograph and upload the photos. Send in 1 or 100 photos, whatever your schedule allows.

Time of year: Summer

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Bee Lovers

wildwatch bee on sunflowerWithout bees, 80% of the plants we eat and grow would not be pollinated. Help us keep an eye on these amazing creatures.

The Great Sunflower Project

What you will do: Count honeybees, bumble bees and carpenter bees on plants like lemon queen sunflower, rosemary and other plants.

Time commitment: 15 minutes twice a month

Time of year: Late spring, summer and early fall

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Bird Lovers

wildwatch robinCount birds at your feeders, gardens and nesting in your yard. All of these bird observation programs are sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology whose website is an excellent resource for bird identification, bird watching and anything “birdy.”

Celebrate Urban Birds

In this largest bird monitoring program in the country, you can count birds in a yard, garden, park or a balcony garden.

What you will do: Keep track of any of 16 common birds (examples: robin, crow, mallard duck) found in urban areas.

Time commitment: 10 minutes whenever you can

Time of year: Any season

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Project FeederWatch

Scientists use your data to track winter bird populations to figure out long-term migration and overwintering trends.

What you will do: Count birds at your feeder. Annual fee is $15

Time commitment: 10 minutes whenever you can

Time of year: November through early April

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Weather Lovers

Are you weather wise? Help scientists track weather changes.

Skywarn Weather Spotter

Help your community by providing timely and accurate reports to the National Weather Service during severe weather. Join 290,000 other volunteers nationwide as the first line of defense against severe weather.

What you will do: After training, you will call in local reports on high winds, flooding, heavy rain and snow and other severe weather.

Time Commitment: After a two hour training (classroom or online), commitment varies by frequency of severe weather.

Time of year: Late fall, winter and early spring

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Rain, Hail and Snow Network

wildwatch heavy rainYou can help fill in a piece of the weather puzzle by volunteering with CoCoRahs, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Weather geeks of all ages collect data on rain and hail.

What you will do: You will take measurements with your rain gauge and hail pad whenever rain, hail or snow falls. After sending in your reports to the website, others in your community (city utilities, emergency managers, and neighbors) can use and apply this information.

Time Commitment: 5 minutes a day during rain events

Time of year: Seasons with rain and snow

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Plant Lovers

wildwatch lilacPlants are exceptional for watching how the climate has been changing. Observing times when plants leaf out, flower and produce seeds opens a window into understanding seasonal changes over time. And, if you are an avid gardener, you may get a better crop next year!

Project Budburst

What you will do: You can choose to make regular observations or make a single report. As a regular observer, you can select just about any plant, figure out your geographical location, check up on it a few times a week and, when changes such as bud opening occur, report the dates online. For a single report, you will be selecting from a list with many common plants like Oregon grape or Lilac and reporting on your single observation.

Time commitment: Making regular observations 3 times a week during the early part of the growing season is ideal. You are asked to send in from 4 to 8 different observations (depending on the plant) over the growing season. Each report takes 15 miniutes.

Time of year: Growing season

More information: This is an extremely user-friendly program. The website has great resources to help you: field journals, online Geocoder to find your location, and tons of information about the “phenophases” of many plants. And, there is even a free App!

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