(Jackson, Wyo.) - Here in Jackson Hole, wildlife is everywhere. We see moose in our front yards, elk crossing the road, eagles souring above town and bears in the park. Nature Mapping Jackson Hole
, a program of
the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, enables residents who enjoy observing
local wildlife to put those observations to use.
"Nature mapping is what we call a citizen science program, where people who
are not scientists can help provide scientific data to help the wildlife in
Jackson Hole," said Frances Clark, the volunteer volunteer coordinator for
Clark told us that the program was developed in steward of well-known local
conservationist Bert Raynes.
When a volunteer nature mappers spots an animal, whether it is while they
are out hiking, skiing or just out their front door, they record the
animal, where they saw it and what the animal was doing. All of this data
goes into a large database. The database is then used by researchers
tracking wildlife, county officials planning wildlife crossings and even
planners who are looking where to place their next housing development.
"Our data has been used by the county and the Jackson Hole Conservation
Alliance to determine where the animals are crossing the road and where the
next best places are to put safe passages for them," said Clark.
Currently, there are approximately 60 active nature mappers.
"We have 30,000 data points, all from people who enjoy being outside and
enjoy the wildlife," Clark added. "It enables us to give back to the
wildlife that we so enjoy seeing."
The organization is now looking for more nature mappers and is holding a
training event on Thursday, January 21 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Teton
County Library. The group asks that those interested RSVP to Frances Clark
by January 18 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the 2 hour program, the organization will talk about the history of
nature mapping, educate the attendees on common local wildlife,
identification and how to determine gender, and then show the new nature
mappers how to work the database. The program is free and open to the
"By becoming a nature mapper, you become an active member of the community
that cares about the wildlife and we give back to it together," said Clark.
*Feature Photo: h/t Nature Mapping Jackson Hole / Pitchengine Communities*
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