Help Monitor Pine Martens in the Olympics this Winter
The Olympic Forest Service and Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), a non-profit organization that partners hikers with scientific projects, are looking for 16 volunteers to help monitor pine martens in Olympic National Forest this winter.
Martens are small carnivores who have historically been found throughout the mountains of Pacific coastal states. Though they are related to otters, mink, and skunks, the elusive martens are most at home in trees. Martens maintain their dark coats year-round, so winter is a great time to spot them.
Forest Service biologists will use data collected by volunteers to better understand marten activity in the forest and to develop management policy.
Remote camera stations (and you) help monitor martens
The project will be setting up 12 remote wildlife cameras in high elevation areas of the forest to monitor marten activity. ASC and the Forest Service needs help checking and maintaining the camera stations.
“If martens still exist in greater numbers on the Olympic Peninsula, then they may be doing so in higher, isolated pockets of habitat," says Betsy Howell, a U.S. Forest Service biologist with the Olympic National Forest. "Getting to these areas can be challenging, particularly during the winter months, which are the most ideal for carnivore surveys.”
Connect with nature
How to get involved
If you're interested in learning winter wildlife tracking techniques or just want to combine your outdoor adventures with a wildlife conservation project, then the pine martin project needs you.
Participants will attend two mandatory training weekends on Jan. 11-13 and Feb. 1-3, 2013. (Forest Service housing is reserved for these two training weekends, so volunteers will have a warm place to bunk down.) During these trainings, volunteers will learn how to track wildlife and maintain the cameras.
Volunteers will then be asked to visit two of the cameras two more times with a partner in late February and March.
Volunteers should have the ability to ski, snowshoe, or hike in the backcountry during the winter. They will also need to commit to visiting the cameras in the eastern Olympic Peninsula four times this winter.
More citizen science opportunities:
From butterflies to birds, several other organizations also have citizen science programs for hikers: