Olympic Marmot: Citizen Science
More than 80 volunteers from throughout the Puget Sound and as far away as Philadelphia and Los Angeles have traveled to Olympic National Park in the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012 to
participate in a long-awaited marmot monitoring program supported by donors to Washington's National Park Fund.
From late July through mid August 2010, volunteers learned about the Olympic
Marmot and potential climate change threats to its habitat, 90 percent of which
is within the boundaries of Olympic National Park. The "citizen
scientists" then set out for 4 to 7 day trips with binoculars, GPS units, maps,
and data sheets looking for marmots and marmot burrows, and recording their
findings. Volunteers continued this research during the summers of
2011 and 2012, thanks to generous donors to Washington's National Park Fund.
Study results have enhanced the knowledge base of the connection between
marmot ecology and climate change, and helped inform natural resource management
decisions in the park.
"We ventured to places we wouldn't have been motivated to explore on
our own," said volunteer Wendy Holcomb of Tacoma. "Our children enjoyed it and the
terrain was spectacular! It was a great introduction to volunteering."
Park staff is pleased with the monitoring program's initial results, which
prove consistent with earlier findings of population decline, and indicate that
volunteers provided good data to work with.
See results from 2010 here: Marmot
Monitoring 2010 Results.
See resultes from 2011 here: Marmot Monitoring 2011 Results.
See results from 2012 here: Marmot Monitoring 2012 Results.
Recruitment for the summer of 2013 will begin in the Spring of 2013. You can volunteer via Olympic National Park's website here.