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The Living Snow Project’s goal is to engage the outdoor recreation community in research that is characterizing the biodiversity of pink snow and its impact on snowmelt dynamics. By empowering people of all ages to participate in science in the places they love to play, we help cultivate a deeper awareness of our living planet and a greater appreciation for the conservation of threatened ecosystems.  The Living Snow Project is run out of Western Washington University.

There are two ways to participate: 1) make observations of pink snow via our app anywhere, any time, you see pink snow;  2) collect samples of pink snow that are returned to WWU, where we sequence the DNA and characterize each sample’s microbiome.

We can only visit a limited number of sites in a season, and community scientists can dramatically increase our sampling resolution.  Our study is focused on the Cascades but we would also like samples from Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Californa, the Canadian Rockies and/or Coast Range or anywhere you may be headed.  You can also contact us at livingsnow@wwu.edu or Dr. Kodner directly at robin.kodner@wwu.edu. 

Become a Volunteer: 2020 Volunteer Sign Up  

The Process

  1. Sign up on the Google Form above
  2. You will get an email from us Spring 2020 with information for volunteer samplers
  3. We will send you a kit or you can pick one up at our pick-up spots (Bellingham: Backcountry Essentials and the Bellingham Mountaineer’s;  Seattle: Seattle Mountaineers’ Clubhouse and Patagonia Seattle – downtown location; Portland: TBD)
  4. Collect pink or red snow on your trip.  Record your sample collection with our App that records GPS coordinates, your name, and the name of your location on the sample tube.
  5. Return sample to us at Robin Kodner, Living Snow Project, Biology Department, Western Washington University, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA 98225.  If you need return postage, send us an email at livingsnow@wwu.edu.

You can also help support us financially in 2020.  We are raising money to support student interns! Visit our VikingFunder campaign here: LSP VikingFunder

To learn more about snow algae and the Living Snow project, see the talk Dr. Kodner gave at NWAC’s NSAW meeting in 2017:  NSAW talk