Citizen scientists make a difference in the San Juans

By May 5th, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Comment

Scientists in the San Juans study the health of  local ecosystems. Photo: Kwiaht website

Scientists in the San Juans study the health of local ecosystems. Photo: Kwiaht website

Up north, in Washington State’s tranquil San Juan Islands, members of the Kwiáht marine research team are hard at work keeping an eye on local sea life and terrestrial critters. Kwiaht, a word in the Coast Salish dialect, refers to a place that is physically healthy and spiritually clean.

The group hopes to ensure the continued health of the San Juan Island ecosystem by allowing local citizen scientists to participate in ecological research.

Want to volunteer? Contact Kwiaht’s program director to find out how you can become involved as well!

In addition to research and outreach, Kwiaht also aims to help restore terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by working with public land managers to develop conservation strategies.

Kwiaht works to strengthen science education through their efforts, and their success depends heavily on volunteers and students to conduct much of their outdoor and lab work. Citizen scientists have made important contributions to their endeavor. A recent project to identify native bats led to the first sighting of the a big-eared bat in the San Juans since the 1940s. Other projects aim to identify the extent and range of various species of amphibians, oysters and salmon on and around the San Juans Islands.

For more information about Kwiaht’s mission and ongoing activities, check out their website and Facebook Page.

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