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.
  • Please email Amanda, our Science & Stewardship Manager, at amanda@cascadeforest.org if you have any questions or need to cancel.

COVID-19 guidelines for trips (updated 7/2021):

  • Volunteers are not required to show proof of vaccination, but trip sign-up form has been updated to ask if you are vaccinated.
  • If you are vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask on our trips.
  • For those unvaccinated, if you working near others, we ask that you wear a mask.
  • If you are experiencing any illness-related symptoms before the trip, please inform us and do not attend the trip.

Trip Descriptions

WAITLIST ONLY - Sept 25 (Sat) || Restoration Planting in Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat
riparian-planting-cropped

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
IMG_9653

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 30-31 (Sat-Sun) || Yellowjacket Creek Planting #3
MVIMG_20190420_161429

When: October 30th- 31st, 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

RESCHEDULING FOR SPRING 2022 || 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. 

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).