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Citizen Science: Help Study Wildflower Phenology on Mount Rainier

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Mar 22, 2017 03:25 PM |

If you’re looking to explore wildflower season on Mount Rainier thus summer, consider helping out local citizen science program, MeadoWatch.

Blooming meadows along the Waterfall Trail near Paradise. Photo by Sandy Wilson.

If you’re looking to explore wildflower season on Mount Rainier this coming summer, consider helping out a local citizen science program, MeadoWatch, while you're at it.

In 2013, ecologist Janneke Hille Ris Lambers from the University of Washington began the MeadoWatch citizen science program in an effort to better understand how climate change will affect the ecosystems around us.

Studies have shown that the onset of climate change is shifting the timing of life events in plant and animal species, and causing things like migration and reproduction to occur earlier and earlier. The goal of the MeadoWatch program is to create a long-term data set that records the phenology (timing) of flowering and migration events at Mount Rainier National Park. Through volunteer contributions, MeadoWatch is able to collect more data than traditional methods, while also getting hikers more involved with the scientific process.

get Involved

Want to become an official MeadoWatcher? If you're interested in learning more about flower phenology or just want to combine your outdoor adventures with a wildlife conservation project, then the MeadoWatch project is for you.

How to participate:

  1. Attend a free, 2-hour training session in either May or June
  2. Commit to at least one data collection hike during the summer
  3. Take a hike, record what you see and submit the data!

Data collection hikes can be completed on either the Reflection Lakes or Glacier Basin trails, and may take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. As an added bonus of helping out the program, participants will gain free entry to the park on the day of their survey and can camp within the park for free for two nights.

> Learn more about how to get involved

Photo Collection Project

If you want to help out the cause but can't make the training dates, MeadoWatch is also looking for help collecting photos of wildflowers in Mount Rainier National Park. All you need to do is snap a photo of a wildflower on your hike, and send it into with the location, name, and phenological stage of your flower.

And don't forget to file a trip report while you're at it, too!

Purple flowers line the paradise Meadows. Photo by Morgan Henderson.