Citizen Science Program at Glacier National Park Expands

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: July 15, 2008
Contact: Norma Sosa, 406-888-7895
Contact: Jami Belt, 406-888-7986

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park announces the expansion of their Citizen Science Program. This program actively engages volunteers to assist biological research in Glacier.

Are you interested in helping out with wildlife and plant research in Glacier National Park? Since 2005, over a hundred ardent volunteers have signed up and given their personal time and effort while providing important information to the Citizen Science for Monitoring Common Loons project within Glacier NP. With this success, the Citizen Science Program in Glacier is expanding this year by adding two new projects: 1) High Country Citizen Science: Monitoring Mountain Goats, Clark’s Nutcrackers, and Pikas and 2) Citizen Science: Mapping Non-native Invasive Plants. Volunteers may choose to participate in one, two, or all three of these projects.

For each of these projects, volunteers will be trained on species identification and on how to observe and what to note about each species. They will also learn about the distribution and the life history of each species in Glacier and the management concerns within the park. The data they help to gather will provide critical baseline information for comparing to future monitoring, and it will assist current and future research.

All volunteers are welcome. Binoculars are essential for wildlife surveying. Some equipment may be available for use during surveys. Training may include how to use GPS units. Trail distance and difficulty varies, according to the interests of the volunteers. If you like the challenge of hiking the trails in one of our great national parks and would like to be involved with research in the park while out on your hikes, contact the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center and sign up! Call (406) 888-7986 for more information or to register for a training session.

Citizen Science: Monitoring Common Loons in GNP
Glacier NP harbors about 20% of Montana’s breeding Common Loons, a Montana Species of Concern. Our main scientific goal is to determine the number of loons in Glacier, the proportion of breeding pairs, and the number of successful nests. Since 2005, volunteers have conducted over 1,000 surveys on 88 of Glacier’s lakes and have documented new information regarding chick mortality, nest site locations, and hatch and migration dates. Wildlife observers will make observations throughout the summer (May through September) on one or more of Glacier’s lakes to document loon populations and behaviors. A particular focus lies on Montana’s annual loon count, Loon Day, July 19, 2008. Contact:Melissa Peterson e-mail us

Citizen Science in Glacier’s High Country: Monitoring Mountain Goats, Clark’s Nutcrackers, and Pikas.
Many changes are happening in Glacier’s alpine and subalpine areas, causing growing concern about many high country plants and animals. These changes include invasions of insects and plant diseases, climate change, and a growing number of recreationists. Volunteers will collect data on the number and distribution of the three wildlife species that we are currently most concerned about. Little is known about the status of each of these species in Glacier. A blitz survey day, similar to Loon Day, is planned for mid-August to assist in the population census of mountain goats. Contact: Jami Belt e-mail us

Citizen Science: Monitoring Non-native Invasive Plants.
A major threat to native plant communities is the invasion of non-native plants. This problem is particularly disturbing when the intrusion is into the backcountry. Citizen Science volunteers will be trained to identify 5 non-native species and to map their locations as the volunteers travel on their hiking trips or, perhaps, on field-trip outings. Contact: Suan Sindt e-mail us

Citizen Science has become the mainstay of many organizations where data is needed but money and personnel are insufficient. Volunteers dedicated to ongoing research, whether at sea or on land, in grasslands or mountains, devote their time and energy to gather observations where extra eyes, ears, and hands are needed. This assistance has filled a big gap in the backlog of research needs. Within Glacier, the program is organized by the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center, within the Division of Science and Resources Management. National Park Service Research Learning Centers are dedicated to assisting researchers and to bringing research information to park managers and to the public.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936



Contact Us