Steep Rock Association in Washington will hold a training session for new and veteran citizen scientists interested in helping to identify marsh birds May 11 from 4 to 5 p.m.

The session will take place at the SRA office at 2 Green Hill Road.

The field season will run mid-May through mid-June.

Citizen science is a method where non-science professionals contribute to scientific studies.

It has proved to be an effective way of performing projects, some that may not be achievable otherwise, while engaging and educating the community.

Marsh birds (bitterns, rails, grebes, and moorhens) are threatened by habitat loss, contamination, and invasion by non-native plants.

They are notoriously difficult to detect, cryptically inhabiting low dense vegetation, which in turn makes assessing conservation initiatives challenging.

However, specific surveys have been developed that focus on auditory cues.

At dawn or dusk during breeding season, surveys combine passive listening and broadcasted calls to elicit a response, greatly enhancing the chances to detect a focal species.

People of all ages and experience levels are invited to participate in the project.

Citizen scientists can expect to learn how to follow scientific protocols, use special equipment, identify marsh birds by sight and sound, and accurately report data.

Wetlands fulfill habitat needs for a variety of wildlife and are especially active in low light conditions so volunteers can also look forward to unique sightings beyond our targeted birds.

For information, call 860-868-9131.