Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Citizen Scientists in Action

Following up on yesterday's post about volunteers helping to understand the effects of climate change, here are some photos of our Citizen Science Amphibian Survey program from over the years. This intrepid group of volunteers, under the leadership of an intern hired through the Student Conservation Association, head out into the backcountry to census populations of frogs and salamanders in wilderness lakes and ponds all over the park. We know that amphibians are especially sensitive to environmental conditions including pollution and climate change, so it's helpful to park managers to know their baseline populations and how they change over time. These are data we simply wouldn't have without volunteers, and our ability to protect Mount Rainier would suffer greatly as a consequence.

In 2014, 25 volunteers contributed 873 hours of service exploring 31 wetland, ponds, and lakes, gathering amphibian, dragonfly, and bathymetric data.

If this sounds like a way you'd like to help, pop over to page on and fill out an application. Keep in mind that this is a job that doesn't begin until the snow melts at high elevations, usually in July, and our coordinator doesn't come on duty until late June. Don't be alarmed if May rolls around and you haven't heard from anyone yet. Be aware, too, that this is job for the physically fit, as you may find yourself trekking cross-country to camp at research sites for a day or two. The rewards, on the other hand, are tremendous. Just check out these photos of your new "office."

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