The MDP's Project Coordinator, Celeste Mazzacano, just returned from a delightful week in Wisconsin attending the annual meeting of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas (DSA). DSA, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is a non-profit organization that "advances the discovery, knowledge and conservation of odonates through research, observation, education, publication, and collection". DSA meetings are largely an excuse for a bunch of dragonflyers (also known as ode-ers) of all ages and levels of experience to gallop around the countryside photographing, netting, and identifying every odonate they can get close to. Species records are entered into the OdonataCentral database, as every meeting sees its share of new county records and rarities, and species lists are shared with the natural resource agency staff who manage the sites at which field trips are conducted. Each meeting also features a day of scientific presentations, and the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership steering committee was well-represented in WI, with talks about Emergence Phenology and Migration of Anax junius (Dr. Mike May), Sympetrum corruptum, a Confusing Migrant (Dr. Dennis Paulson); and The Migratory Dragonfly Project: New Data, New Partners, New Insights (Dr. Celeste Mazzacano).

Annual and regional meetings of the DSA are not only great fun, they are also unparalleled learning experiences, which brings me to the main point of this newsletter. Feedback from MDP volunteers often indicates uncertainty about their skills in dragonfly identification. Many excellent field guides are now available, but nothing can substitute for a day spent in the field learning from dragonfly experts in a group that usually includes the authors of the field guides themselves!  If you are eager to learn more about dragonflies and damselflies, there's no better way than to attend a DSA meeting. In addition to the annual meeting, whose location rotates each year, regional branches such as northeast, southeast, and northwest also meet yearly.

Can't find time to attend a meeting? Check out the multiple different Facebook group pages dedicated to dragonflies including DSA, Minnesota Dragonfly Society, Wisconsin Dragonfly Society, Southeastern Odes, Odonata of the Eastern US, Western Odonata, Northeast Odonata, and Odonata Ohio, where you can either lurk and learn, or post photos of your own for identification. Many of these groups also use FB to organize impromptu field trips, as dragonflying is always more fun with friends.  You can find links to listserves dedicated to odonates on the MDP web site
. Discussions are unfailingly friendly and educational, and people at all levels of experience are welcome. So check out some of the options in your area, and we hope to see you in the digital universe or on a field trip soon! 
This newly released publication provides guidelines for landowners to help them create, manage, and maintain backyard ponds to attract dragonflies and damselflies. Download your copy here! 

Do you have a story to share about a new experience or a new place discovered since participating in MDP projects? Email your stories about new discoveries while volunteering and we'll include them in a future newsletter.
Make sure you have the necessary resources to identify migratory dragonflies. Also, check out the new version of the MDP field guide in Spanish!


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Photo Credits: Banner: Four-spotted Skimmer (Libellula quadrimaculata), by Celeste Mazzacano; 
 Side bar: Cover photo of Backyard Pond Guidelines, by Walter Chadwick, citizen science volunteer; 
Cover photo of the Spanish MDP Field Guide, by Greg Lasley; 
In text: Twin-spotted Spiketail (Cordulegaster maculata), by Celeste Mazzacano

Migratory Dragonfly  I  Partnership 628 NE Broadway, Suite 200  I  Portland, OR 97232 USA

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