Starting this April, I will be doing some environmental assessment work for Banff National Park. The project involves creating a database of vegetation emerging from the prescribed burns. I’ve done similar types of surveys for both the Saskatchewan and Alberta governments. In addition to this project I expect to be involved in an aquatic connectivity study as well. This project involves collecting data on all the various culverts and other man-made drainage connections within the park. This assessment will ensure that infrastructure is minimizing its impact on existing drainage and water quality.
Once I meet the head researchers and get briefed on their protocols, I’m free to set my own hours over the year as long as the data collection goals are met within the year. Since some of the research locations overlap with potential tourist areas, I had to complete a basic interpretive guide course in the hopes that I can better explain various research to the public and represent the park. The flexibility in hours is because I’m volunteering my time to this. In return, Parks has offered various training such as Wilderness First Aid recertification. I spend enough time in the wilds pottering about satisfying my own curiosity that I thought I may as well be performing some useful data collection. Working with some interesting people is always worth while too.
I’ll be joining several others in this role under the designation: Banff National Parks “Citizen Scientists.” I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the basic understanding of the natural systems of this area.