Backcountry Skiers and Snowshoers Needed to Search for Pine Martens
Are you looking for an opportunity to join Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation as a member of their community of citizen scientists? Have you been itching to get into the mountains for some backcountry camping this winter? Do you want to make a difference and do your part for conservation while learning a thing or two about tracking? If you’ll be anywhere near the Olympic Mountains in Washington this winter, this is the opportunity for you.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) has announced a partnership with the Olympic National Forest to monitor and collect information on the distribution of pine martens on the eastern side of the Olympics. Pine martens (a small species of weasel) have been known to occupy the Olympic Peninsula, but sightings have been scarce and unconfirmed in recent years, leading some to believe that their habitat is now primarily in higher alpine regions. It is
uncertain whether or not pine martens remain in this area at all, and alpine areas in winter pose significant access problems for scientists attempting large scale studies.
Two Adventurers on the Trip of a Lifetime: Collecting Lichen on the Great Himalaya Trail
Steve and Katrijn Behaeghel are determined to experience the world on their own terms – on the path less traveled with minimal gear. Their idea of a couple’s getaway is to spend multiple months hiking in places like Patagonia, the Arctic, Scandinavia, the Canadian Rockies, Pakistan, and Greenland, just to name a few. In the process of exploring the remote corners of our planet, Steve and Katrijn document its beauty and urge for its protection. They are advocates of conservation, and their writing and photography reflect a deeply emotional connection to some of the world’s last wild and pristine places.
Their current excursion, estimated at thirteen months total, began in July of 2012 and will span three continents. From July through September, Steve and Katrijn packrafted and hiked their way through Lapland in Northern Scandinavia. This was merely the first leg of their journey, and they now find themselves on the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal. This trail, as Steve describes in one of his blog posts, is an unmarked route designed to “attract visitors to under-developed and impoverished areas where only few alternative development opportunities exist.” By traveling from tiny village to tiny village (often more than a day’s journey apart) Steve and Katrijn are cultivating their understanding of isolated Nepalese cultures. Their hope is that their trek, publicized on their blog with stunning photography, will spur more tourism and revenue to this impoverished region. In January, after completing their Nepalese tour of the Himalayas, the couple will head for Patagonia to continue their packrafting and hiking adventure. It will be their fourth trek in the region, and they hope to bring awareness of the area’s need for conservation as they explore, document, and blog. The final three months of the adventure will be spent in the wildernesses of Chile, Bolivia, and Columbia.
A Climber Turned Citizen Scientist's Story of Adventure and Data Collection
Dylan Jones is an American Alpine Club Member and avid climber who decided to add some science to his climbing trip over the summer by teaming up with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. Jones searched for the American pika through out his trip and found the daily search added a little more meaning to his trip. Read his account here.
In an age where awareness of climate change exists but little is understood, I had always accepted the science behind the debate. What I lacked was an answer to one basic question: What can I do about it? Gearing up and heading into the wilderness wasn’t healing the ecosystems I frequent, and escaping those around me for solitude certainly wasn’t raising
awareness. I needed a way to contribute something, anything, to the worthy and noble cause of understanding climate change to fight ecosystem degradation. Fortunately, advocacy exists in the form of passionate grassroots organizations who are mobilizing people like me to transform recreational travel into purposeful volunteer work.
The deafening rivers and babbling brooks that make life possible have no voice of their own. The mountains whose defenses we try to exploit to gain their summits cannot fight for themselves. The planet’s animal and insect populations who vastly outnumber us stand no chance unless we make an effort to understand them. This is where Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation plays into the equation. Standing at the forefront of citizen science, ASC connects hikers, climbers and paddlers with scientists hungry for data in the places these athletes love to play. Often lacking the technical outdoor skills, funding or time to reach the remote areas they are attempting to study, these scientists greatly need us to assist them, just as we need them to help protect the areas we treasure.
Collecting Data from Source to Sea Down the Amazon River: the Ultimate Adventure Science Combo
West Hansen and his team of boaters are kayaking down the Amazon River from Source to Sea and attempting a speed record as well. Along the way he is collecting data for ASC's South American Wildlands Biodiversity Project. Everyday they write down observations of flora, fauna, geology, archeology, and cultural use areas as they travel. The data they bring back will help create a comprehensive map of biodiversity in this They are nearing their final destination: the Mouth of the Amazon. Here is an excerpt from their blog.
The team was enjoying the beautiful bright moon rising over the Amazon River. Today, they enjoyed no wind at all. The water was flat and the weather muggy. The team drank a lot more water due to the hot, muggy weather conditions. They are enjoying the channel. It’s a very nice change from the previous 3800+ miles. They paddled 50.8 miles today. In Texas, that would be a drop in the bucket. In the Amazon, it’s a 12.5 hour tough day. The weather, flat water, river traffic and school buses all slowed them down.
The school buses are actually larger river boats with a small dugout canoe tied up along side it. When they reach a bus stop, the canoe (which has a small motor) will untie, go pick up the kids at the end of the dock, motor them back over to the larger boat, the kids climb into the larger boat and continue their way down the river. The larger boat never stops. In addition, the team saw a small dugout canoe with a couple of small, young girls (7-9 yrs old) paddling a smaller dugout canoe with wooden paddles about a 1/2 mile across the river to get to their bus stop. Now, I cannot imagine my 9 year old paddling a dugout canoe on her way to school down the Amazon River. Of course, it’s a way of life for these young ladies. West stopped and got pictures, of course. Can’t wait to see those.
Read the Landmark Notes blog: