Earthwatch Teen Expeditions are designed specifically and exclusively for 15 to 18 year olds. They’re unlike any other experience teenagers can have.
Break out of your routine this summer, and travel to one of the last explored areas in the contiguous United States: the Olympic Peninsula. When you stand in this forest you’ll be dwarfed by some of the oldest trees on the planet, some more than 1,000 years old, and surrounded by more than 29 animal species that can only be found within this habitat. While much of this land is protected as a World Heritage site, the Olympic National Park, the managers of the surrounding woodland are tasked with balancing protections for the rich biodiversity and demand for the valuable timber.
You will help provide evidence on how wildlife responds to different forest management styles. Since birds are an integral part of the forest ecosystem, and excellent indicators of its change, studying which birds live where will give researchers key insights into the health and sustainability of different types of managed forests.
Within the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF), a state-managed land designated for the study of integrating timber harvesting and habitat conservation, you will trek through towering trees and dense ferns to install sound recording devices in different habitat types. The recordings from these devices will then be run through an automated recognition software that can recognize calls from target bird species. Additionally, you will survey the habitats in which these calls are recorded by recording the species of the trees, measure the trees diameters, and assess the understory vegetation. Researchers will be able to use this data to determine how many of each species are living in each type of forest and how the species respond to different management styles.
Explore the important consequences forest management has for the wildlife within it and the community around it. With your help, scientists can collect data that fill the important gaps in knowledge on the intersection of conservation and forest management.