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Citizen Science: Help Study Pikas, Marmots, Invasive Plant Species

Posted by Loren Drummond at Apr 30, 2015 11:55 AM |

Want your hiking adventures to contribute to conservation science? Check out some of the citizen science programs needing hiking volunteers to watch for wildlife and invasive plants all summer long.

Want your hiking adventures to contribute to science? Check out some of the citizen science programs needing hiking volunteers to watch for wildlife and invasive plants all summer long.

May 16 training for Peaking for Pikas (Tacoma)

Love spotting or listening for the unmistakable squeak of pikas when you hike? Hike to help research pika behavior for the Cascades Pika Watch Project. The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is training volunteers who want to help research how climate change and habitat loss are impacting pikas and the plans for their protection.

How to participate:

  1. Register for the training on Sat., May 16, 2-4 p.m. at the Point Defiance Zoo and & Aquarium in Tacoma.
  2. Take the training and plan a hike
  3. Take a hike, record what you see or hear and submit the data!

May 3 training with Conservation Northwest (Cle Elum)

Join Conservation Northwest, the Wilderness Awareness School, and the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition for the 2015 field season monitoring wildlife in the Cascades!

How to participate:

May 3 training to monitor invasive plants while you hike public lands (North Bend)

With funding from the National Forest Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the WSDA, the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council is gearing up for our fourth year to search for priority and newly emerging invasive plants in our National Forests, National Parks and other public lands. They're looking for new volunteers to search for invasive plant populations.

How to participate:

  • If you want to help with the effort while you hike this summer, register for a free 2.5-hour training on Sunday, May 3 in North Bend. (Presentation 9am-11:30am; optional field excursion 12:30pm-4pm)
  • Trainings will equip volunteers with the knowledge necessary to conduct invasive plant surveys in order to support local land managers that need your help.
  • Volunteers will receive an invasive plant identification booklet along with survey forms.
  • The program hopes that volunteers who sign up will conduct 1-2 surveys over the 2015 field season.

May 1 deadline to apply for the Olympics marmot monitoring program

Olympic National Park is now accepting volunteer applications for the fifth season of Marmot Monitoring. Each year small groups of volunteers visit designated survey areas to gather timely and vital information about population presence and distribution. Tracking and monitoring these changes allow wildlife managers to evaluate the population’s status on an ongoing basis.

The details:

Volunteers must be capable of hiking to and camping in remote areas, be comfortable navigating off-trail and be able to work on steep slopes. Most survey trips involve a 5-20 mile hike with a significant elevation gain to the survey area. Volunteers then camp out in or near the survey areas and search for marmots two to four days.

How to apply by the May 1 deadline:

  1. Watch the video (below) and learn more about the program.
  2. Decide when you and your group are available.
  3. Fill out the application by May 1. (The 2015 application deadline is May 1, but may close earlier if enough eligible volunteers have been accepted, or last longer if some trips remain unfilled.)
  4. Still have questions? Learn more about Olympic Marmot Monitoring program at the park's website.


More citizen science opportunities:

From butterflies to birds, several other organizations also have citizen science programs for hikers:

> Check out the North Cascades Institute citizen science program.

> Find a bird project with Audubon.

> Read about a winter project monitoring pine marten



Pika at Lake Serene

I don't know if this data will be useful to anyone, but I saw a pika nibbling on a leaf as I was coming down the trail from Lake Serene on Friday, May 1st, 2015.

Posted by:

Aaron Outdoors on May 02, 2015 08:26 PM

Citizen Science Opportunuties in SW Washington

There are also some trips available through the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, see:

Posted by:

Ryan Ojerio on May 05, 2015 07:01 AM


Thanks for sharing this, i signed up, am super excited about opportunity!

Posted by:

Hikingqueen on May 07, 2015 08:02 AM