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Hike of the Week: Make a difference in the environment by joining the Citizen Science & Stewardship programs

By Nathan Boyer-Rechlin
Special to the Daily
Columbine flowers off the Davos Trail in West Vail.
Casey Russell | crussell@vaildaily.com

Walking Mountains’ Citizen Science & Stewardship series kicks off this coming Sunday, with a half-day hike to learn how to use i-Naturalist on the trail.

This new series offers bi-monthly opportunities to join a group of hikers on the trail and participate in Citizen Science, and other stewardship opportunities. Programs are free, and occur on Fridays and Sundays through September. Join us on the trail for a group hike, while contributing to citizen science and stewardship projects here in Eagle County.

Series Programs

Read below for overviews of the exciting program offerings this summer. Visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/hike for the full summer schedule for this series, and our other community hiking programs. All Citizen Science & Stewardship Programs are free, however pre-registration is required and closes the day before the program.

Pika Project Backcountry Hikes

On our Pika Project field days, you will join a Walking Mountains backcountry guide, and a group of fellow citizen scientists and trek into the backcountry to collect data on the signs and presence of pika at some of the Front Range Pike Project’s long-term monitoring sites. You will learn all about the cutest of alpine critters and their importance in our ecosystem.

Additionally, you will be trained in how to use the pika project’s mobile app to collect your own data, and contribute to this citizen science project any time you’re hiking high in the alpine. Join us for an adventurous outing into the backcountry (often off-trail) and help collect meaningful data while you’re at it. This summer’s pika project hikes include trips to Deluge Lake, New York Mountain, Notch Mountain and West Lake Creek.

Adopt-a-Trail Days

Help contribute to trail projects on the Buck Creek and Avon Overlook trails, adjacent to Walking Mountains’ Avon campus. The Adopt-a-Trail program helps maintain miles of trail throughout Eagle County, and this is your opportunity to help make lasting change. Projects range from trail reroutes and building steps to clearing invasive species and building water bars.

iNaturalist on the Trail Training

iNaturalist is a mobile app that allows you to contribute to collecting scientific data on the presence and distribution of animal and plant species across the globe. This data helps contribute to biodiversity science and data is shared with databases that help scientists access and use your data. Join our backcountry guides for a day out on the trail where we will learn how to use iNaturalist, as well as brush up on our tracking and wildflower identifying skills. With iNaturalist in your pocket, adventures from your morning hikes to multi-day backcountry trips will never be the same.

This Week’s Walking Mountains Hikes

Thursday June 25: Club Hike to Red & White Mountain, $80 or $500 to join the club

Sunday June 28: ‘i-Naturalist On The Trail’ Hike to Meadow Mountain, free

Monday June 29: Hike @ Shrine Ridge: Climate Change in the Alpine, free

Tuesday June 30: Club Hike to Whitney Lake, $80 or $500 to join the club

Nathan Boyer-Rechlin is the community outreach coordinator, hiking guide, and trails guru at Walking Mountains Science Center. You can reach him at (970) 827-9725 ext. 144, or nathanbr@walkingmountains.org.


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