I have also been enjoying receiving your data sheets, thanks to all of you who have turned them in to the data drop box, emailed them, or mailed them our office. We have 71 data sheets returned so far! That is astounding!
Thanks for your enthusiasm for the program, I always love hearing about how your hike went and what animals you encountered. Happy MeadoWatching!
The time we've all been waiting for is here! The wildflowers have hit peak flowering! The meadows are gloriously full of every imaginable color. When I hiked the trail last week the mountain was being shy, but here is view from plot 6. I hope everyone has been enjoying their hikes, it has been a slow start but the wait is worth it for these wildflower displays!
If you are loving MeadoWatch and want more citizen science ideas, check out these projects that are going on right here at Mt. Rainier!
Cascade Butterfly Project
The Cascades Butterfly Project is a long-term citizen science project that monitors butterfly populations in North Cascades National Park and Mount Rainier National Park.
Subalpine meadows in these two National Parks are expected to shrink dramatically due to the effects of climate change, but as of now, the rate and magnitude of this change is unknown. Butterflies make ideal indicator species because they are particularly sensitive to climatic changes, and are relatively easy to identify in the field by scientists and volunteers alike. Participants will hike up into some of this country’s most scenic alpine meadows and help scientists identify and count the butterflies along the way.
We are looking for volunteers to help conduct amphibian surveys to document the presence or absence of amphibian species at various lakes, ponds and wetlands with an emphasis on historical Western Toad sites. Volunteers will be part of a small group. We will hike to chosen sites and conduct amphibian surveys. This primarily involves finding, identifying and measuring amphibians at all stages of development. You do not need any previous experience and surveying equipment will be provided. You may volunteer once or multiple times throughout the season. If you need to stay overnight, free camping is available at Cougar Rock, White River, Ohanapecosh and Longmire campgrounds, however, I recommend Longmire since it is the closest to our meeting point. We are conducting both day trip and overnight backpacking surveys throughout the park, as some lakes are much easier to get to than others. More detailed information will be provided once volunteers have been confirmed. If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact Laura at email@example.com.
I am looking for dedicated hikers to choose from one to a few trails to hike along and collect carnivore scats this summer. In order to join this citizen science effort, you will need to commit to a minimum of 3 hikes between July.1 and September.30. You are free to select for any 3 dates that work for you within in this timeframe. If you want to do them all together, you will want to sign up for 3 different trails. Or if you would like to sign up for 3 well-spaced dates, you can chose the same trail and hike it 3 times (or 3 different ones....however you decide). There will be no formal training for this position. I will send you supplies and our field protocol to guide you and am available for phone discussions. As a scat collector, you will hike, photograph, and collect any putative mountain red fox, wolverine, and gray wolf scat for DNA analysis in order to investigate the conservation status and connectivity of these rare carnivores in the Cascade Range. It will be super helpful if you have a GPS and camera but they are not necessary.
If you are interested in becoming a citizen scientist, select the trail(s) you would like to steward from the attached list and sign up by replying to firstname.lastname@example.org with the trail name(s) and # of times (1 to 3, or more) you will hike them.
If you have sighted a mountain red fox, wolverine, or gray wolf in the Washington or Oregon Cascades, or would like to suggest a trail you think might be a good spot to detect one, I would love to hear about it. Please forward this email to any friends you think might be interested in joining the project. Also please sign up for our blog postings here to learn more about the Cascades Carnivore Project.
Jocelyn Akins, PhD Candidate
Project Coordinator, Cascades Carnivore Project