Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Glacier Park Taps Citizen Scientists To Help With Research Projects

Citizen scientists watch for migrating raptors at Swiftcurrent Pass.
Citizen scientists watch for migrating raptors at Swiftcurrent Pass.

Glacier National Park is looking for people to help study and monitor plant and animal species throughout the park.

“The reason we do these projects using citizen science is because they’re very large scale geographically. And you need a lot of bodies to do that because the park’s pretty big." says Jami Belt, a biologist with Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center, which is coordinating the park’s citizen science program.

The park uses the information to better manage certain species.

People can look for loons and observe their nesting habits to help the park better manage lakes. They can help estimate mountain goat and pika populations to see how climate change might affect them. They can look at huckleberry ripeness, and can use wildlife cameras to find out where lynx are living.

Participants have to complete a one-day training session before they can go out into the field to collect data on their own. They should also be able to do at least three surveys.

“We just need people who like to get out and spend some time slowing down and looking for species and be good about documenting meticulous data so that we can rely on the data to use it for the management purposes that we need it for," Belt says.For those who can’t participate in the longer research projects, or attend a training, the learning center also offers one day events. Participants can learn about noxious weeds, help document important wildlife crossings along roads, or watch for alpine birds.

To sign up for a training or find to get more information on projects contact the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at or 406-888-7986

Trainings for the common loon citizen science project will be held in West Glacier on May 7 and 14, June 27, and July 9 and in St. Mary May 29. 

Trainings for the high country citizen science project are in West Glacier June 4, 15, 16, and 29, and in St. Mary June 26.

Huckleberry phenology citizen science training is in West Glacier June 6.

Lynx camera trapping training is in West Glacier August 1.

Hawk watch raptor migration counts training is in West Glacier August 27. 

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.