Note: We have filled all of our spots for this project. Sign up for our newsletter and like us on Facebook to hear about future outings like this one.
What? ASC is looking for dedicated volunteers to help us monitor pine martens in Olympic National Forest (ONF) this winter. In partnership with ONF wildlife biologists, we will be setting up remote wildlife cameras in high elevation areas of the forest to monitor marten activity. We need help checking and maintaining the camera stations. This is a unique and fun opportunity to get involved in a meaningful wildlife conservation project and to learn winter wildlife tracking techniques.
The project entails setting up 12 remote wildlife cameras in 6 different drainages in ONF. Each of the cameras will have to be checked every 3-4 weeks from January to April to replace data cards and batteries. If you join this project, you will be asked to "adopt a drainage" and maintain 2 cameras in one drainage along with a partner. You will be required to attend two field training weekends in which you will learn to set up and maintain the cameras in addition to winter wildlife tracking techniques. After the two training weekends, it will be up to you to visit your cameras 2 more times during the winter, 3-4 weeks apart.
You do not need any tracking experience to sign up, but you will need to have basic winter camping skills and the ability/desire to walk, ski or snowshoe long distances over rugged terrain in the snow. This is a great opportunity to spend time with others outside in winter.
When? To participate in this project, you will need to attend two mandatory training weekends on January 11-13, 2013 and Feb. 1-3, 2013. During these trainings, you will learn how to track wildlife and maintain the cameras. You will then be asked to visit 2 of the cameras 2 more times with a partner in late Feb and March.
Where? On the eastern slopes of Olympic Nat’l Forest.
Why? The pine marten is species that has been historically present in the Olympics, but has been only anecdotally observed in recent years. Forest Service biologists want to know the current status of the species.
“It is believed that if martens still exist in greater numbers on the Olympic Peninsula, then they may be doing so in higher, isolated pockets of habitat. Getting to these areas can be challenging, particularly during the winter months, which are the most ideal for carnivore surveys. Having volunteers vetted through ASC who are extremely fit and extremely motivated would greatly add to the likelihood for success of such an effort.”
-US Forest Service Biologist, Betsy Howell, Olympic National Forest
The data collected by this project will be used by ONF biologists to better understand marten activity in the forest and to develop management policy. Please feel free to call or email if you have questions about the project and volunteer responsibilities.
Watch this video from last year's Grizzly Tracking Weekends