Stories

Monitoring Alaskan Bats in the Tongass National Forest

Body The sun has finally set in Ketchikan, located around 300 miles south of Juneau, Alaska. Engines rumble as volunteers begin their journey deep into the Tongass National Forest. Equipped with a bat detector and a specialized microphone on the roof of their car, the volunteers traverse a 30-mile stretch at 20 miles per hour in the hope of recording bat calls, which will help determine where they roost, migrate, and hibernate.The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) is one of the most common bats of North America, and is one of the species studied in Alaska. The U.S.… Read Story >

A monarch butterfly held in hand.

Atlanta Residents Welcome Pollinators to their Urban Gardens

Body Students of GAPP planting a pollinator garden. The next time you bite into a juicy pear, you can thank the bees buzzing outside; 35% of the world’s crop production depends on pollinators like birds, bees, bats, and butterflies.  But pollinator populations are declining, especially in and around cities. In the greater Atlanta area, the housing boom of the 1990s and the early 2000s replaced approximately 400,000 acres of pollinator habitat with residences and lawns (leading to an increase in pesticide use, which kills pests along with beneficial bugs). To address… Read Story >

Volunteers Use Free App to Document Rare Species in Kaibab National Forest

Body A ladybird photo submitted to the Kaibab project, where citizen scientists can make observations of plants and animals in the Kaibab National Forest and post them online. The Kaibab National Forest in Arizona is alive with colorful birds, cottontail rabbits, and ponderosa pines. If you’ve ever hiked through its rugged terrain, you may have wondered about the various species of plants and wildlife you saw along the way. The U.S. Forest Service is also glad to know what you spotted. During the 2017 calendar year, the Kaibab National Forest hosted a year-long… Read Story >

Regina Rochefort (third from the right) and citizen scientists pose with their butterfly nets.

Citizen Scientists Help Uncover Changes in Butterfly Populations in the Cascade Mountains

Body Regina Rochefort (third from the right) and citizen scientists pose with their butterfly nets. In the diverse and bustling ecosystem of the Cascade Mountains, Regina Rochefort from the National Park Service (NPS) has been busy gathering volunteers for the Cascades Butterfly Project, which is a collaboration between NPS, the U.S. Forest Service and other partners. Since 2011, volunteers have recorded the plants and butterflies in the area to understand how those species are affected by climate change.   "Maintaining meadows and early seral vegetation is an… Read Story >

Volunteers Count Every Street Tree in New York City

Body Did you know?  Over 80% of the U.S. population live in cities or metropolitan areas, making urban trees more important than ever. Trees bring many benefits to human health—they filter air pollution, release oxygen, reduce mental stress, and absorb rainwater and noise. Trees in cities connect rural forests and parks to the urban landscape, creating habitat linkages for wildlife species like migratory birds. These are some of the many reasons the U.S. Forest Service supports trees in urban areas, and why the City of New York has been recruiting residents to count its… Read Story >

An American Marten in the snow

Protecting Martens with Citizen Science

Body A dead juvenile marten on the Mt. Rose Trail. Martens are a larger relative of the weasel with a cute face and bushy tail. They have roamed the coastal mountain regions including the Olympic National Forest (ONF) for centuries, but recent sightings have drastically declined—there have only been a few verifiable sightings of the Pacific marten (Martes caurina) in the Forest since 1988, which is concerning to biologists.  One of those sightings was in 2008, when a hiker discovered a juvenile marten lying lifeless on the Mount Rose Trail. Scientists at the Burke… Read Story >