|Volunteers make survey measurements|
on the Nisqually Glacier
The one tiny flaw in this exceptional and comprehensive story is that nowhere are volunteers mentioned -- at least, by that title. But anyone who knows anything about Mount Rainier knows that volunteers are intimately involved in everything we do, and that is certainly true of our efforts to understand and prepare for climate change.
This mountain is one of the best places on the planet to study the local effects of changing climate, and as the article suggests, it has attracted a swarm of graduate students. Many are independent researchers, working with their universities under research permits. Others are hired as volunteers or interns by the National Park Service through programs like the Geoscientists-in-Parks program, a partnership with the Geologic Society of America (whose interns have contributed greatly to Mount Rainier over the years, and whose 2015 positions are accepting applications until February 3rd). Scott Beason, a park geologist, began his career as a "GIP" intern. John Beyeler and Rebecca Rossi, who spent the summer of 2013 gathering stream data in the Carbon River channel, and who are featured on the cover the special section in the News Tribune, sitting on an island surrounded by the rushing river, were two more such interns. Emily Knoth and John Russell, 2014 interns, are photographed conducting surveys at Longmire. Mitch Haynes, pictured mapping the Nisqually Glacier, was a 2014 summer volunteer working with park geomorphologist Paul Kennard.
|MeadoWatch volunteer Karen Murante|
surveys wildflowers on Mazama Ridge
And, of course, when the rivers rise, causing damage like that of the November 2006 floods that wiped out roads, bridges, trails, and campgrounds, volunteers respond to make repairs. Miles of trail were rebuilt almost entirely by volunteers; it's no exaggeration to say that large swaths of the park would still be closed off without the help of partners like the Washington Trails Association and Student Conservation Association who helped organize work crews. Community groups representing REI, Boeing, Starbucks, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, church groups, military units, geocaching clubs, and dozens of others joined hundreds of individuals to grade and build and brush and plant.
You can make a difference! Volunteer with our MeadoWatch, Butterfly Survey, or Citizen Science programs to help gather data for researchers. Share your photos of flowering plants (how simple is that)! Work with our Trail Crews, and with our partners at the Washington Trails Association, to continue repairing and maintaining damaged trails. Support the work of other partners like Washington's National Park Fund and the National Parks Conservation Association. Join other volunteer efforts throughout the year, and encourage your employee associations, church groups, civic groups, and community organizations to contribute. Together, we can make a real difference. See you on the Mountain!