River Otter Citizen Science Project

Hello Level Walkers!

The following interesting opportunity is forward from Ranger Stephanie Siemek. If you would like to help with this initiative please contact her.

Also, if you are interested in submitting photos for the 2020 volunteer calendar, please contact Claire Connor at chohvip@gmail.com.

Thanks, Steve

I_00085cDear Volunteers,

Recently, I met with wildlife ecologist, Dr. Tom Serfass from Frostburg State University. His expertise involves many diverse species, including the river otter. He is interested in starting a citizen science project within the C&O Canal NHP, but before extending this to the public, I wanted to gauge the number of people who would be interested in helping within our volunteer community.

Dr. Serfass is planning on doing an educational session on river otters, such as their natural history, presence within the region, and their use as a flagship species. The citizen science aspect would be informing us if you see a river otter along the canal while you are on bike patrol, or just walking/hiking through the park. Another possible aspect would be looking  through photos taken by wildlife cameras (camera traps) that will be placed along the canal.

The project is currently in its infancy, but we would like to just get a count of how many people would be interested in attending the educational session/ program and might be interested in helping us find river otters along the canal.

Please send me a reply, if you are interested. Attached are some pictures of river otters (with one taken at the C&O Canal!) and other wildlife captured with the wildlife cameras.

Thank you,
Stephanie Siemek 

Interpretive Ranger, C&O Canal National Historical Park

Email: stephanie_siemek@nps.gov (301) 722-8226