Herpetological Citizen Science and Service-Learning in Rural Southeast Alaska

REAM, Joshua - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Citizen science and service-learning programs can serve to acquire biological data, educate the general public, and inspire community-based conservation. In Alaska, these programs are particularly valuable in studying species for which limited population data is available and where funding is limited. I utilized an amphibian-oriented bioblitz (AmphiBlitz) and a high-school service learning program to obtain baseline population parameters for amphibians in three wetlands located in proximity to the Stikine River in Southeast Alaska. A total of 707 individual amphibians of 4 species (3 anurans and 1 urodele) were observed by 21 project participants. These data support the Alaska Herpetological Society’s Stikine Long-term Amphibian Monitoring Program (SLAMP). Data collected at one site (Petersburg Muskegs) are to serve as a baseline for long-term monitoring to be conducted annually in partnership with the Petersburg High School. These methods successfully engaged the public in herpetological field research while acquiring valuable biological data.