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Exploring for good: How donations drive data collection

“Adventure scientists” explore with a purpose, collecting information about wildlife species that is otherwise out of reach.

How many? Where? When? These are some of the questions about wildlife that Landmark volunteers have been helping to answer year-round since this adventure science program started in 2014. Now in our third year of the collaboration with Adventurers & Scientists for Conservation, Landmark volunteers from across North America and countries around the world are working on new answers for the region’s wildlife.

This spring, Landmark crews worked with Kyran Kunkel, our Lead Scientist, to assess habitat for swift fox, a species that we are hoping to reintroduce in the future in collaboration with state wildlife officials. One step in the right direction is gathering scientific data about current conditions on the ground, making sure that swift fox are indeed absent and that the land could support a new population. Thanks to Landmark volunteer service, this data can now be compiled, analyzed, and shared.

Landmark volunteers have also been keeping count of bird populations on the Greater Sage-grouse leks that are spread across Reserve lands, and summer crews are now getting ready to map prairie dog towns and track the imperiled species that depend on them. But the impact of these adventure scientists doesn’t stop at our boundaries – Landmark also monitors the wildlife camera traps on nearby Wild Sky ranches.

As American Prairie Reserve grows its land base, innovative programs like Landmark are an important part of habitat management and improving conditions for wildlife in cost-effective ways. The ability of volunteers to gather information on a landscape-scale shows the real power of people working together for science and conservation, and we are grateful for your membership gifts that make this program possible.

 

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This article originally appeared in The Sentinel, our biannual publication for members. Starting this fall, we'll continue to post updates on our News and Blog pages but The Sentinel will only be provided in print and digital to members in appreciation for their support.

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