August 24, 2012

Having Fun Engaging the Public in Wildlife Health Topics at the Wisconsin State Fair

Cris Marsh, WDIN's Content Manager, interacting with
Wisconsin State Fair visitors on "UW-Madison Day"
Recently, Cris Marsh from the Wildlife Data Integration Network (WDIN) and Christy Browne Nunez, a partner on the multidisciplinary Global Health Initiative project teamed up at the “UW-Madison Day” festivities at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Of the many events planned by the University of Wisconsin -Madison, WDIN hosted an “exploration station”. Fair visitors meandered through the various station tables, chatted with UW project teams, interacted with family-friendly hands-on activities, demonstrations, and games; seeing UW-Madison research in action.

Home page of the Wildlife Health Event Reporter
At WDIN’s station, we shared information about white-nose syndrome and how the disease is causing high rates of death in some species of bats in the United States. This fact and the future implications to agriculture and biodiversity due to declining bat populations, is a recent example of why people should care about wildlife health issues.

In today’s flatter world, as physical barriers between wildlife, domestic animals and humans narrows, the shared risk of disease has increased. [1] Gaining a better understanding about where and when wildlife health events are occurring can help to better protect the well –being of all living things.

Like many ecological issues, people can feel overwhelmed and wonder how they can make a difference against these challenges. One way individuals can help to limit the spread of disease and help further understand wildlife health is by observing and reporting sick and/or dead wild animals encountered during the course of their day-to- day activities. View a short video overview HERE and learn how anyone can easily make these reports online using the Wildlife Health Event Reporter,

Bucky Wagon at Wisconsin State Fair

More on UW-Madison Day at the Wisconsin State Fair

Do You have a Wildlife Health Event Observation to Report? 

Sign up for a WHER account at and add your own sightings to those that have already been contributed. To date, over 4,000 reports have been entered or imported into WHER. In less than 2 minutes, you can create an account. Take another 5 minutes and enter a report that will contribute to a greater understanding of wildlife disease phenomena.

[1] Yale Human Animal Medicine.Moving from “Us vs. Them” to “Shared Risk”: Human and Animal Health are inextricably connected.

No comments: