Citizen Science Trips

2021 CITIZEN SCIENCE AND RESTORATION TRIPS 

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for a trip in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest!

Here’s what you can expect:

As a volunteer citizen scientist, you’ll join experienced conservationists as we work together to preserve and restore the unique ecosystems in and around Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Come learn and explore while you make a positive impact that will last for years to come.

No prior experience is necessary to volunteer as a citizen scientist–you’ll learn everything you need to know once you arrive at the project site. Some sites are easier to reach than others. Use our 1 (easy) – 5 (demanding) difficulty rating scale to select the trip that’s the right fit for your outdoor experience and comfort.

A few things to remember when signing up:

  • Trips are free but fill quickly, so reserve your spot ASAP!
  • Volunteers are responsible for supplying their own food, water, camping gear (as needed), and appropriate clothing for being in the field.
  • For overnight trips, volunteers and CFC staff will stay at reserved campsites within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. During colder months, we’ll reserve lodging at cabins or bunkhouses. It should be noted that some of our typical arrangements are not possible during COVID and will result in us not being able to provide lodging.
  • Before your trip, CFC staff will provide you with additional trip details, gear lists, meeting information, and carpool options.
  • Minors 13-17 can attend with a guardian on trips ranked 3 or below in difficulty.

COVID-19 guidelines for trips:

  • As of 2/2021, group size will be limited to 10 people (volunteers + staff) total per trip.
  • Masks are required while working on federal land.
  • Extra campsites will be reserved so volunteers can camp at a comfortable distance from one another.
  • If you are experiencing any illness-related symptoms before the trip, please inform us and do not attend the trip.

Trip Descriptions

WAITLIST ONLY July 9-11 (Fri-Sun) || Preparing Old-Growth for Fire
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When: July 9th- 11th, 10:30 am Friday – 3:00 pm Sunday
Must be able to attend at least two days.

Meeting location: Trout Lake, WA

Project site: South of Mt. Adams

Trip leader: Amanda Keasberry

We will be out in the old-growth ponderosa pine forests on the south side of Mount Adams, preparing areas for prescribed burning. This is a partnership with Mount Adams Resource Stewards and is a long-term effort to protect the majestic, old-growth ponderosa pines and Douglas-firs in this unique part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Volunteers will be working with CFC staff and using hard rakes and shovels to pull back the thick needle layers and ladder fuels that have built up over the past century due to fire suppression. Removing these uncharacteristically thick layers of duff creates relatively open spaces for the old ponderosa pines and Douglas-firs to thrive and to be more resilient during the prescribed burn. Currently, these trees are not only threatened by high-intensity fires but are also experiencing negative impacts from drought and disease due to competition for water and nutrients. Help us protect these magnificent trees!

Difficulty:  4 out of 5 || This trip entails full days of physical labor and hiking through uneven terrain with heavy gear. Volunteers are encouraged to work at a pace that is most comfortable for them.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll Provide:

  • Gloves
  • Hand tools
  • Orange vests

Lodging:  Campground near Trout Lake.  Bathrooms and potable water are available at this site. 

WAITLIST ONLY - July 31-Aug 1 (Sat-Sun) || Huckleberry Monitoring + Picking
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When: July 31st-August 1st, 10:30 am Saturday – 3:00 pm Sunday
Must be able to attend both days.

Meeting location: Randle, WA

Project site: Kraud Ridge

Trip leader: Amanda Keasberry

Through our involvement with the Pinchot Partners forest collaborative, we will continue to monitor huckleberry sites to determine the effects of forest thinning on huckleberry restoration. We will head to forest stands that are set to be thinned for huckleberry restoration to collect data on the abundance and fruiting of huckleberry plants in this area. Volunteers will be trained on-site,  and then split up into groups to cover a larger area. On day two, we’ll head back to the huckleberry fields to revisit more plots. We will end the day early to pick huckleberries (participants must obtain free Forest Products Permit). Join us to learn all about huckleberries and their cultural and ecological importance!

Difficulty: 4 out of 5 || This trip will entail hiking on uneven ground, through brush, and over downed logs. Trees are limited in this area, so there will be extended periods of sun exposure.

You’ll need:

We’ll Provide:

  • Data collection equipment

Lodging:  Campground near the Cispus River. Bathrooms and potable water are available at this site. 

WAITLIST ONLY - Aug 6-8 (Fri-Sun) || Wildlife Camera Surveys
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When: August 6th- 8th, 10:30 am Friday – 3:00 pm Sunday
Must be able to attend at least two days. 

Meeting location: Randle, WA

Project site: Cowlitz Valley Ranger District

Trip leader: Shiloh Halsey

In partnership with Oregon State University and the Institute for Natural Resources, we are conducting an in-depth study of marten and fisher populations in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. In 2019, volunteers helped us deploy 57 wildlife cameras in strategic locations to capture photos for occupancy modeling and habitat analysis for fishers and martens. Last year, we downloaded thousands of photos and documented over ten fishers and martens at our study sites. The cameras were left out for another year, so we’ll need to go revisit the sites once more. Volunteers will be split up into small groups to go retrieve the cameras, then redeploy them in nearby areas. Venture off the beaten path to remote areas of Gifford Pinchot National Forest while participating in our biggest wildlife study ever!

Difficulty:  5 out of 5 || This trip requires hiking over uneven and/or steep terrain, through brush, over downed logs, traversing slippery rocks, and potentially up to 3 miles of hiking a day.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll Provide:

  • Data collection equipment

Lodging:  Campground near the Cispus River. Bathrooms and potable water are available at this site. 

WAITLIST ONLY - Aug 13-15 (Fri-Sun) || BDA Installation at Woods Creek
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When: August 13th- 15th, 12:00 pm Friday – 3:00 pm Sunday
If you prefer to help for one or two days, please let us know when you sign up.

Meeting location: Woods Creek Watchable Wildlife Trailhead

Project site: Woods Creek

Trip leader: Shiloh Halsey

To improve water quality and restore important wetland and stream habitat, we will be installing a series of beaver dam analogues (BDAs) in Woods Creek. Beaver dam analogues are channel-spanning structures made of natural materials that mimic beaver dams and serve similar functions such as increasing stream complexity, attenuating flows, and creating deep pools which are beneficial to salmonid species! We will be placing wooden posts into the streambed and then weaving branches of native trees between the posts to create a structure. The goal is to install four BDAs in strategic locations that will cause water to stay in the system for longer. CFC staff will be preparing the site on Friday, so feel free to join us on Friday afternoon if you are available!

Difficulty:  4 out of 5 || This trip entails full days of physical labor near and in creeks and ponds. Getting into shallow water to install posts or weave branches will be required for this trip.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots
  • Waders (if you have them)
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll Provide:

  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Orange vests

Lodging:  Campground near the Cispus River. Bathrooms and potable water are available at this site. 

WAITLIST ONLY - Aug 21 (Sat) || Native Seed Collection
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When: August 21st, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday

Meeting location: Trout Lake, WA

Project site: South of Mt. Adams

Trip leader: Suzanne Whitney

Join us to collect native shrub and wildflower seeds that will contribute to our long-term effort to build ecosystem health and resilience of habitats around Mount Adams. The seeds will be used for restoration in areas that have been severely impacted by uncharacteristically intense wildfires, or that have experienced short-interval recurrent fires. Volunteers will be trained by a U.S. Forest Service specialist regarding the identification and benefits of various native species. Some seeds will be sown directly on the burned landscape this fall, while others will be sent to a Forest Service facility to be grown out for planting in the future. Help us gather seeds while also learning to identify over 20 native plants found in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest!

Difficulty:  2 out of 5 || The trip requires walking along uneven ground and extended exposure to the sun.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll Provide:

  • Gloves
  • Shovels
  • Orange vests
  • Bags for collecting seeds

Lodging:  N/A

Sept 11-12 (Sat-Sun) || Surveying for Lamprey #1
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When: September 11th-12th, 10:00 am Saturday – 3:00 pm Sunday
Must be able to attend both days. 

Meeting location: Carson, WA

Project site: Panther Creek/Upper Wind River

Trip leader: Amanda Keasberry

CFC is joining the Pacific Lamprey Coalition Initiative to embark on a two-year research and restoration project to reduce threats to Pacific lamprey and improve their habitats. Lamprey are anadromous fish that live most of their life in freshwater. Therefore, it is critical that they have access to important habitat features like stream channel complexity, silty stream beds and deep pools. Before any restoration begins, we need to survey for the presence/absence of lamprey along Panther Creek and Pete Gulch, two tributaries of the Wind River. There is documented evidence of lamprey getting past Shipherd Falls, a waterfall two miles from the confluence of the Columbia River and Wind River, so we want to conduct surveys to see how far into the system they go. We will be using survey techniques to try and find both lamprey redds (spawning beds) and larval lamprey.

Difficulty:  5 out of 5 || This trip entails full days hiking through uneven terrain and conducting surveys in moving water.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots
  • Waders (if you have them)
  • Polarized sunglasses (if you have them)
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll Provide:

  • Waders
  • Survey equipment

Lodging:  Campground near the Wind River. Bathrooms and potable water are available at this site. 

Sept 18-19 (Sat-Sun) || Surveying for Lamprey #2
Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Credit: T. Lawrence, Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

When: September 18th- 19th, 10:00 am Saturday – 3:00 pm Sunday
Must be able to attend both days.

Meeting location: Toutle, WA

Project site:  South Fork Toutle River

Trip leader: Amanda Keasberry

CFC is joining the Pacific Lamprey Coalition Initiative to embark on a two-year research and restoration project to reduce threats to Pacific lamprey and improve their habitats. Lamprey are anadromous fish that live most of their life in freshwater. Therefore, it is critical that they have access to important habitat features like stream channel complexity, silty stream beds, and deep pools. Before any restoration begins, we need to survey for the presence/absence of lamprey along the South Fork Toutle River. There have been anecdotal sightings of lamprey redds (spawning beds) in the lower reaches of the SFT so we want to conduct surveys to see how far into the system they go. We will be using survey techniques to try and find both redds and larval lamprey. In 2022, we will install BDAs (beaver dam analogues) in hopes of providing lamprey with more habitat that they will thrive in.

Difficulty:  5 out of 5 || This trip entails full days hiking through uneven terrain and conducting surveys in moving water.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots
  • Waders (if you have them)
  • Polarized sunglasses (if you have them)
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll Provide:

  • Waders
  • Survey equipment

Lodging:  Campground near the South Fork Toutle River. Bathrooms and potable water are available at this site. 

WAITLIST ONLY - Sept 25 (Sat) || Restoration Planting in Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat
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When: Saturday, Sept 25th, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Meeting location: Trout Lake, WA

Project site: Trout Lake Creek

Trip leader: Suzanne Whitney

We’ll be planting native sedges in an important habitat complex for the ESA-listed (threatened) Oregon Spotted Frog that the USFS has been working to restore for several years. Specialists from the USFS botany staff will be present to provide background information on the species life history and conservation goals.

Difficulty:  3 out of 5 || This trip includes physical labor and walking on uneven terrain with heavy gear. Volunteers are encouraged to work at a pace that is most comfortable for them.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll provide:

  • Gloves
  • Shovels
  • Orange vests
  • Planting bags to carry sedges

Lodging: N/A

WAITLIST ONLY Oct 2-3 (Sat-Sun) || Mt. Adams Post-Fire Planting
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When: October 2nd- 3rd, 10:00 am Saturday – 3:00 pm Sunday
If you prefer to help for one day instead of spending the night, please let us know when you sign up.

Meeting location: Trout Lake, WA

Project site: South of Mt. Adams

Trip leader: Suzanne Whitney

As part of a long-term effort to rebuild ecosystem health and resilience of habitats around Mount Adams, we’ll be dispersing native seeds and planting native shrubs across a landscape that has experienced several wildfires over the past 13 years. We will be hiking through areas that were impacted by uncharacteristically intense fires and short interval fire cycles just south of Mt. Adams. The seeds used for restoration come from adjacent unburned areas and the shrubs we are planting were grown out from such volunteer-collected seeds. Volunteers will be joined by USFS botany staff to get an expert perspective of fires in a forested landscape. Hike through this barren landscape to help accelerate recovery of the forest structure!

Difficulty:  5 out of 5 || The trip will entail carrying 20 lbs of seed/shrubs will traversing uneven ground. We’ll assign groups based on participant interest and some will trek greater distances than others. The pace will be slow and steady, but we will need all parties to be able to carry seed/shrubs to the planting sites.

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll provide:

  • Gloves
  • Shovels
  • Orange vests
  • Planting bags to carry seeds/shrubs

Lodging:  Campground in Trout Lake. Bathrooms and potable water are available at this site. 

Oct 23-24 (Sat-Sun) || Yellowjacket Creek Planting #3
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When: October 23rd- 24th, 10:00 am Saturday – 3:00 pm Sunday
If you prefer to help for one day instead of spending the night, please let us know when you sign up.

Meeting location: Randle, WA

Project site: Upper Cispus River/Yellowjacket Creek

Trip leader: Amanda Keasberry

In partnership with Cowlitz Indian Tribe, we will be planting native saplings near in-stream restoration sites to promote quick recovery and revegetation. At the confluence of the Cispus River and Yellowjacket Creek, there have been some major restoration efforts to deepen and enhance an existing side channel near the confluence of Yellowjacket Creek and the Cispus River. This location will provide excellent rearing habitat for juvenile coho, winter steelhead, and spring Chinook salmon. Because we couldn’t get out to plant her last year, we have thousands of trees to plant. This is the first planting trip of the fall, if you can’t make this one, please consider joining the one in November!

Difficulty:  3 out of 5 || This trip entails full days of physical labor and hiking through uneven terrain with heavy gear. 

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll provide:

  • Gloves
  • Shovels
  • Orange vests
  • Planting bags to carry trees

Lodging:  TBD

Nov 6-7 (Sat-Sun) || Yellowjacket Creek Planting #4
IMG_7519

When: November 6th- 7th, 10:00 am Saturday – 3:00 pm Sunday
If you prefer to help for one day instead of spending the night, please let us know when you sign up.

Meeting location: Randle, WA

Project site: Upper Cispus River/Yellowjacket Creek

Trip leader: Amanda Keasberry

In partnership with Cowlitz Indian Tribe, we will be planting native saplings near in-stream restoration sites to promote quick recovery and revegetation. At the confluence of the Cispus River and Yellowjacket Creek, there have been some major restoration efforts to deepen and enhance an existing side channel near the confluence of Yellowjacket Creek and the Cispus River. This location will provide excellent rearing habitat for juvenile coho, winter steelhead, and spring Chinook salmon. Because we couldn’t get out to plant her last year, we have thousands of trees to plant. Help us plant the last few thousands of plants at this site.

Difficulty:  3 out of 5 || This trip entails full days of physical labor and hiking through uneven terrain with heavy gear. 

You’ll need:

  • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Day pack with food, water, and other essentials
  • Camping gear

We’ll provide:

  • Gloves
  • Shovels
  • Orange vests
  • Planting bags to carry trees

Lodging:  TBD

Trip Signup

2020 Photos from the Field

The work of volunteers is an essential part of our conservation and restoration efforts. Thank you the many volunteers that helped make a difference in the SW Washington Cascades!


INDEPENDENT VOLUNTEER ADVENTURES

Do you want to visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest on a mission? There are a variety of survey needs that can be tackled independently by citizen stewards. You can head out for a survey trip with friends or family or tie it into a weekend camping trip. The projects this year that can benefit from independent volunteers include beaver habitat surveys and pika surveys. You’ll need a little training and information to get started, so get in touch and fill out the trip signup form (be sure to indicate that you’d like to learn more about the independent volunteer trips).