Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The New Mexico Pika Monitoring Project

Hungry (squeaky) pika
It's been brought to my attention that a Santa Fe conservation group - The Seventh Generation Institute - is recruiting runners/hikers/and friends of the outdoors to participate in a study of pika in the Pecos Wilderness. The aptly named project, in collaboration with the National Park Service and a network of national conservation organizations, aims to use citizen-scientists to navigate off trail in the backcountry and collect data on the effects of climate change on the pika using scientific protocol.

I'll need to monitor the boulders and rocks more critically on my next outing up Baldy. Apparently pika populations are disappearing from some North American mountain locations but not others and ecologists attribute this shift to macro changes in our weather patterns. The study hopes to clarify effects of hotter summers and smaller snowpacks on local alpine ecology, using the little pika as an easily observable indicator. Research in New Mexico is key to the study since we are the southernmost bio-zone for these critters.
Seventh Generation Institute

Training of volunteers is coming up fast -  the weekends of June 30-July 1, or July 7- 8. This is an opportunity to turn your weekend hike into direct involvement in New Mexico conservation efforts. For more information on the project visit, or view the project's volunteer page at  Thank you to Cathryn Wild for passing on this information.

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