Park Science Magazine | Summer 2023

Three smiling women standing in front of a wall with decorations and a slide show. One is wearing an NPS uniform.
An artist's depiction of Oregon Caves showing a bat in the cave which are found near the openings during the summer months.

Image credit: NPS

From the Editor

The Art of Adapting

Innovating to help the most vulnerable. Outfoxing wildfires gone wild. Listening to people who know. Asking for help. Inspiring (and being inspired by) kids.

In Brief

A group of five black-tailed prairie dogs on a mound of dirt surrounded by yellow and green plants.

Research | Wildlife Diseases
A New Treatment to Control Plague in Wildlife Shows Promise

Experiments with fipronil-laden prairie dog bait suggest the insecticide can be a powerful tool for reducing the "Black Death" in wildlife, especially if integrated with other methods.
By David Eads, Scott Carleton, Travis Livieri, Eddie Childers, Phil Dobesh, John Hughes, Paul Roghair, Angela Jarding, and Danielle Buttke
Image credit: NPS

Woman with pink ball cap and green safety vest holds up a large, long worm while she's standing on a pebbly beach

Research | Coasts
How Worm Harvesters Are Helping Acadia Understand Its Declining Coastal Fisheries

Acadia National Park is working with local communities to study the park’s changing coastal environment. There’s a lot at stake.
By Hannah Webber and Abe Miller-Rushing
Image © Schoodic Institute / Hannah Webber

Picture This

The stories behind extraordinary images and videos from the practice of park science

Closeup of a rattlesnake curled up under a rock.
Tender Timber Rattlesnakes

An emerging filmmaker's captivating 60-second video about this reclusive animal’s motherly instincts.


Woman with white hair and a warm coat gesturing as she speaks, as waves crash on algae-covered rocks right behind her.

Profiles | Marine Science
If Seaweed Could Talk

Renowned phycologist and marine ecologist Susan Brawley discovered that even the simplest organisms can teach us profound lessons.
By Olivia Milloway and Catherine Schmitt
Image © Schoodic Institute / Catherine Schmitt

Woman sprays permethrin on her tent

Research | Social Science
Employee Surveys Give Clues to Reducing Tick-Borne Disease

Two studies show the value of standardized procedures, in-person training, and site-specific information.
By Stefanie Bolas and Maria Said
Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A fluffy tan and white bird with bright yellow eyes sits on a black an white striped branch against a backdrop of pale green leaves and looks at the viewer

Technology | Innovations
Remote Audio-Recording Devices Hear Birds When We Can’t

New technology makes it possible to record hundreds of thousands of songs in a short time. That could make protecting wild birds and other at-risk animals easier.
By Megan Tomerlin
Image credit: NPS / Jim Peaco


A city at night

Community Science
When Communities Lead the Way

Community (led) science takes scientific research outside park boundaries and into people’s lives. The effects can be transformational.
By Tim Watkins, Claudia Santiago, Ashley Pipkin, and Abe Miller-Rushing
Image courtesy of Tammy Binder

Firefighter holding a shovel walks through smoke next to a giant sequoia.

Coming Full Circle: How Parks Are Using Conventional Tools in New Ways to Restore Imperiled Forests

Depriving western old-growth forests of fire brought them to the brink. Now the fire they need also threatens them. To fix this, parks are returning to mechanical forestry methods.
By Jennifer Gibson, Leonel Arguello, Anthony Caprio, Garrett Dickman, Eamon Engber, Eric Knapp, and Jason Teraoka
Image credit: NPS / G. Dickman

Video animation of a bat with large ears, held in a gloved hand, rotating its head and opening and closing its mouth.

Bats Are in Danger. Here’s How and Why We’re Helping Them.

Bats are amazing animals and a formidable force against insect pests, but a nasty fungal disease is killing them. A coordinated national response brings hope.
By Michelle Verant, Bik Wheeler, Mark Ford, Ian Abernethy, Rob Schorr, Allen Calvert, Bryan Hamilton, and Kimber Godfrey
Image credit: NPS / Bryan Hamilton

Kemp's ridley sea turtle with tagged front flipper lies in the sand next to green plants

Sea Turtles
Despite Heroic Efforts, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles Remain Critically Endangered

A seashore’s extraordinary work to rescue Kemp’s ridley sea turtles from extinction is holding the line for this ancient species. But their numbers are still too low to reclassify them as “threatened.”
By Hilary Frandsen
Image credit: NPS

A group of people hiking up a steep, boulder-covered slope with evergreens and blue skies in the background

Citizen Science
Let Me Count the Ways: How Citizen Scientists Helped a Park Measure Visitor Impacts

Wildly popular Rocky Mountain National Park wanted to measure the extent of resource damage from all that love. It needed the help of some ardent supporters.
By Paige Lambert, Scott Esser, Koren Nydick, and Varun Kirk Acharya
Image credit: NPS

A dark, thick slurry of mud up against a dam with red markings indicating where intake and bypass pipes are buried.

Water Quality
Wildland Fires Could Be Putting Your Drinking Water at Risk

Hotter and more frequent wildfires are threatening water sources in the West. We looked at what the latest research says about protecting them.
By Michael Wandersee, Dara Zimmerman, Kelly Kachurak, Leo Angelo Gumapas, Kayla DeVault Wendt, and Kurt Kesteloot
Image credit: NPS / Heather Davies

Educate & Interpret

Four young men holding up black and white paintings while standing in front of red-rock canyons and green trees.

Citizen Science | Biological Controls
Making Environmental STEM Education Stick

A citizen science project tests whether a small wasp can restore native habitat. It also shows the benefits of firsthand experience for high school students.
By M. Nikki Grant-Hoffman and Anjelica Spencer
Image courtesy of Colorado Canyons Association

A group of young people stand around a large tree. In front, a girl with a clipboard holds a measuring tape around the tree. Measuring the diameter of a tree.

Environmental Ed | Title-1
A Visit of a Lifetime

The White House and President’s Park’s environmental educational program gives Title-1 students a chance to learn how much they’re capable of.
By Alyssa Chiascione and Kathy Langley
Image credit: NPS / Grace Anderson

About This Issue

Last updated: December 30, 2023