Park Science Magazine | Winter 2022

Park Science Cover Winter 2022
Bald eagle in flight

Image credit: NPS / David Hypes

From the Editor

The Power of Optimism

Making a difference despite difficult circumstances. Our very first article in the new Educate and Interpret section. A podcast on the unique challenges of managing coastal parks.


Swept Away podcast cover: square, black, Park Science Podcast graphic with gold lettering next to an aerial view of a beach with houses not far from the ocean

Podcast | Coasts
Swept Away

Barrier islands move constantly, but people build houses on them anyway. Cape Hatteras superintendent-scientist Dave Hallac tells us why good data can only do so much (18 minutes).
By Brooke Bauman
Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Mark Bias

In Brief

Mortar sampling at Hubble Trading Post. A man's hand holds a scale card against a mortar joint in an old building.

Events | Historic Preservation Training
Sharing the Mysteries of Mortar

Finding the right recipe to replace crumbling joints in historic buildings can be the key to preserving them. I conducted two recent trainings to show how.
By Catherine Cooper
Image credit: NPS / Catherine Cooper

Picture This

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

Three puppies look out from a wooden entranceway. Two of them are black and white, and one is brown.
Sledding for Science

Denali's sled dogs take scientists into the backcountry to study snow depth. The Denali kennels mark their 100th year of operation in 2022.

Bison skull sits on ground next to green vegetation
Bison Roamed the Mountains Too

Archeologists found old bison bones in a high alpine habitat. It changed how we understand bison and the people who interacted with them.

A map of the flight path of the chestnut-collared longspur in 2022 as measured by Motus stations.
A Roadmap to Track Grassland Birds

Fort Union installed the National Park Service's first Motus tracking station in Oct 2022. The first bird it detected had flown from Canada.


Sea otter at Kenai Fjords National Park floating on its back in deep blue water.

Research | Marine Science
How Alaskan Marine Ecosystems Responded to a Massive Heatwave

A marine heatwave in the North Pacific had widespread, detrimental impacts on ecosystems and species. Why were some more resilient than others?
By Heather Coletti
Image credit: NPS / Jim Pfeiffenberger

Two Capitol Reef bighorn sheep rams

Observations | Wildlife Diseases
An Infectious Strain of Pneumonia Threatens Capitol Reef’s Prized Bighorn Herd

Capitol Reef National Park’s bighorn sheep herd grew almost fourfold since being introduced from Canyonlands over two decades ago. Now the herd is at risk from a debilitating disease.
By William Sloan, with Morgan Wehtje
Image credit: NPS / Chris Roundtree

Earth seen from space at night with lights over a continent.

Connections | Natural Sounds and Night Skies
Protecting Tranquility in a Bright, Noisy World

The National Park Service is a global leader in the fight to preserve dark night skies and quiet soundscapes. The benefits aren’t just esthetic.
By Christopher Kavanagh, Sharolyn Anderson, Cathleen Balantic, Li-Wei Hung, Gina Pearson, Frank Turina, and Karen Trevino
Image credit: NASA / Karen Nyberg

Smart audio detector

Research | Artificial Intelligence
Eavesdropping (on Birds) Has a Smart New Tool

BirdNET uses artificial intelligence to analyze audio recordings and detect bird species by sound. We’re exploring its potential to help parks answer complex, pressing questions.
By Cathleen Balantic
Image credit: NPS / Cathleen Balantic

Astrotourism advertising display in a New Zealand restaurant

Events | Natural Sounds and Night Skies
Chasing the Stars Down Under

New Zealand, an aspiring “dark sky nation,” held a seminal conference on protecting night skies and natural sounds. One of us was a keynote speaker.
By Karen Trevino and Christopher Kavanagh
Image credit: NPS / Karen Trevino


Shark River Slough in Everglades National Park. Tree islands protrude from shallow waters reflecting blue skies.

Sea Level Rise Threatens Cultural Sites in the Everglades

In Florida’s vast, world-class wetland, climate change puts important archeological and post-colonial features in the path of a rising tide.
By April Watson
Image credit: NPS / Anthony Sleiman

Kemp's ridley sea turtle with tumor

Sea Turtles
A Deadly Tumor-Causing Disease Joins the List of Perils for Endangered Sea Turtles

Padre Island National Seashore has worked for decades to preserve Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. A new viral disease now threatens them.
By Jennifer Shelby Walker
Image credit: NPS

Road damaged from Hurricane Sally in 2020. Man in NPS uniform climbs onto road from sandy beach.

Helping Islands Stay on a "Budget"

National island parks in the Gulf of Mexico are hemorrhaging sand at an increasing rate. Here's how we slow the bleeding.
By Jeff Bracewell
Image credit: NPS / Jennifer Manis

Two white fossil jawbones with brown teeth

The Curious Case of the Old Dog in the Sand

The discovery of a large fossil canid jawbone in Idaho gives clues to the region’s diverse, verdant past.
By Kari A. Prassack and Laura C. Walkup
Image credit: NPS

woman in NPS uniform handles a juvenile condor while wearing safety gear

Tracking a Flu Strain That’s Killing Wild Birds

When confronted with a seemingly uncontrollable disease, surveillance matters. National parks are important watchdogs in the search to know more.
By Lisa Shender, Lori Oberhofer, Ryan Trimbath, Alacia Welch, Olivia Magni, Leslie Frattaroli, and David Payer
Image credit: NPS / Rose Fielding

Flood-damaged section of North Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park

Natural Disasters
When the River Breaks

In the aftermath of the devastating 2022 Yellowstone floods, we examined historical river flows. Could our insights help predict future events?
By Ally Marrs, Teodora Rautu, David Thoma, Ann Rodman, Mike Tercek, and Andrew Ray

Image credit: NPS

Man holds a Hess sampler as he stands in the Niobrara River surrounded by green vegetation

How a Flower and Fish Changed the Niobrara River

People planted yellow iris and stocked northern pike in the river for beauty and sport. The iris altered the river channel, and the pike ate the native fish.
By Lusha Tronstad
Image courtesy of Lusha Tronstad

Educate & Interpret

People in a river raft watch a released monarch butterfly fly away

Internships | Pollinators
For the Love of Monarchs: How We Joined the Push to Save a Beloved Butterfly

We spent the summer of 2022 learning to be good stewards of monarch butterflies. It was an unforgettable experience.
By Cassandra Cavezza and Juan Pablo Esparza-Limón
Image credit: NPS / Sonya Popelka

About This Issue

Last updated: December 31, 2023