More than 200 volunteers contributed over several years to our Pika project, recording habitat data on these energetic denizens of the high mountains. Our data was part of a decades-long global research effort which has been uncovering important lessons for the conservation of these and other animals.
We're honored to be among the 70 co-authors on a new paper published in Nature Climate Change and reported on by PBS. This study reveals that when it comes to surviving climate change, the key to a pika population's survival is less a matter of genetics and more a matter of the ecological conditions they've encountered throughout life.
Dylan Jones collected data for the Pika project while summiting Teewinot and the Grand Teton, two of the highest peaks in the Teton range. His photos give a taste of the spectacular landscapes and views that are home to the pika, and that beckon adventurers and scientists year after year with the promise of discovery. Click each photo below to expand and see the caption.
Early snow storms, record-breaking low temperatures––these events may cut autumn festivities short, but they won't slow down data collection for our Timber Tracking project!
You can collect samples of leaves, cones, and wood for three different species this year, and since they're all evergreens, you're just as well off in winter as in summer.
In the video below, get a taste for what's in store when sampling western redcedar, and learn more about the bigger picture of the project and our organization as a whole. Then continue on to our Timber Tracking site, get to know all three species we're focusing on, and apply to join us this winter, whatever the weather may bring.
After decades of only a few rare sightings on the Olympic Peninsula, Pacific martens have now been detected at camera trap sites by our partners at the U.S. Forest Service. Having located these survivors, the team can actively pursue their goal to have healthy, sustaining populations of martens in the Olympics.
Adventure Scientists' data collection in 2013 and 2014 “was crucial in conducting the Olympic National Forest’s winter marten surveys," said our project partner, Betsy Howell, "and [the subsequent seasons] would not have been such a success without your efforts."
We caught up with Betsy to hear more about the project's past, present, and future.
How did the project with Adventure Scientists contribute to or relate to the subsequent seasons' work?
The surveys AS did in 2013 and 2014 helped support our theory that we still needed to get higher in elevation if we were going to find martens. With funds obtained after these two winters we were able to hire crews that then focused at higher elevations in the national park and forest. These stations, however, were only out for a few weeks, so the next steps after those were to install the overwinter cameras with long-acting lure dispensers that stayed on the landscape for a year. These then resulted in a number of detections during the 2018-2019 survey season. The work AS did was part of the ongoing evolution of our understanding of current marten occurrence in the Olympic Mountains.
Do you have a favorite memory from working with Adventure Scientists?
The night before our first survey day in 2013 I couldn’t sleep! I was nervous and excited and NPR was showing up that day too, so there was a lot going on. Our marten survey efforts up to this point had been more ad hoc, so this felt amazing to me, that we suddenly had so many people so interested in the work and capable of doing the work also. It was pretty thrilling!
How did you feel at the end of our seasons when no martens had been spotted?
I didn’t feel that surprised honestly, but of course I had been hopeful that we’d get lucky. I also felt good however. The second best thing to actually documenting martens was to have a good program, with camera stations that were functional on the landscape because this would show that the effort was solid. And because the effort was solid and the data were of good quality, then we could be fairly sure we just weren’t looking in the right areas, ie. high enough in elevation. Negative results are important too as long as the surveys are done well.
How did you feel when the first one was spotted subsequently?
Great, of course! In June 2015, we got two photographs, one from a remote camera set out for fisher monitoring and one from a rock climber. These were the first records since 2008 and we were all super excited.
What do you love most about martens after all this time?
It’s hard (impossible, I might say) to not be enchanted by martens and their adorable faces and scrappy natures. But they’re more than just pretty faces in the forest. They’re also critical to the health of forests, as well as indicators of the great changes that are taking place currently in the forest environment.
What are your hopes for the future of martens on the Olympic Peninsula?
The hope is that we will be able to take the investigations to a higher level with more intense surveys in the areas we’ve found martens to better understand their population distribution and connection, as well as population status (by looking at genetics). Understanding these aspects will inform future management actions. The goal, of course, is to have healthy, sustaining populations of martens in the Olympics.
Want to learn more about martens? Check out our project film and more.
Be a part of the next great update by joining one of our current projects today!
Join us, Oregon Wild, and Mountaineers Books on September 10th for a free, live web event, featuring Chandra LeGue, the author of Oregon’s Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide, and learn about these complex and beloved ecosystems.
Chandra will discuss what an ancient forest is, what types exist in Oregon, where they are, who manages them, why so few still survive, and what threats they continue to face. She'll also highlight a variety of the hiking experiences found in different regions of Oregon, covering natural history, human history, and flora and fauna, so you come away with a better understanding of these complex ecosystems and their extraordinary value, and inspired to get out exploring!
The presentation will run about 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute question and answer period. Register today, even if you can’t attend on September 10, and you’ll receive a recording of the event a day or two afterward.
Plus, when you register to attend you’ll automatically be entered to win one of three copies of Chandra’s book, Oregon’s Ancient Forests!
Adventure Scientists has addressed countless challenges to the health of humans and the environment, through a wide array of projects including freshwater and saltwater microplastics surveys (which influenced the European Union’s recent landmark ban of single-use plastics), wolverine and lynx population tracking, and antibiotic resistance studies. For many of these projects, our volunteers have used Gaia GPS to navigate in the wilderness and record precise locations of sample collections and observations.
The summer season has our team in full gear, and our growing business is opening new opportunities to join our team and contribute to the work of Adventure Scientists. Whether you're an experienced non-profit operations person or someone just getting started in a career in volunteer management or conservation, there are great options for you and we'd love to get to know you. Learn more and apply below!
The Administrative Coordinator provides key support to both the Executive Director and the Operations Manager, applying organizational, communication, and creative problem-solving skills to manage schedules and streamline operations.
The Development Administrator provides key support to the Development Manager, applying data management, organizational, communication, and creative problem-solving skills to streamline our internal systems to drive donor support.
The Projects Team Assistant will report to the Scientific Director and will work closely with all members of the projects team assisting with logistics of volunteer management, including shipping equipment and samples, planning events, and processing and reporting on project data.
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