Community science at work in Utah

Community scientists just like you are collecting critical data to conserve the local wildlife and wildlands we hold dear. Wild Utah Project provides individuals across Utah with opportunities to get outdoors and unleash their inner scientist. The data collected by our fellow community members allows state and federal agencies and conservation nonprofits to fill critical data gaps that inform management decisions for our public resources.

Support community science today!
Your tax-deductible gift will help us reach our goal to raise $7,000 by April 30th to kick-off our 2019 community science field season.

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Photos from our April Wasatch Wildlife Watch training. Learn more about this project at


Local Art + Education + Food

Wild Earth aims to create a culture of conscious consumerism. Through yearly art markets, it's a place where the community can support local artists, learn about current environmental issues facing Utah, and contribute to the ongoing work of non-profit partners. On May 4th, 10% of all proceeds of the Earth Day Market will benefit Wild Utah Project! 

When: Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 12 PM - 6 PM
Where: Public Coffee Roasters, 975 S West Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84101

The Henefer Lek

On a pre-dawn morning earlier this month, we brought a group of our supporters to see male Greater sage-grouse strut their stuff at a local sage-grouse mating ground near Henefer, Utah. Though still under 6-12 inches of snow, the wonder of this lek did not disappoint. The males birds were in their full plumage striking poses and sparring against their competition.


Black Rosy-finch Study

In March and April we successfully kicked off Phase I of our Black Rosy-finch Study!  We fitted Black Rosy-finches' legs with research tags and deployed special bird feeders to track their movement and survival. This project is only possible because of your support and our partnership with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Tracy Aviary, Utah State University, Department of Defense, and many others!


2019 Community Science Opportunities

We are pleased to announce our community science volunteer schedule and sign-ups for 2019. Scroll down to find the perfect community science volunteer opportunity for you this summer. Space is limited, so be sure to sign-up soon!


Amphibian and Stream Habitat Assessments

Amphibians, including the boreal toad, are in decline. Community scientists will collect information about frog and toad eggs, tadpoles, and adults, along with collecting water quality samples. These data are used to help management agencies better understand amphibian habitats and conserve them. Learn more.


Wasatch Wildlife Watch

Wasatch Wildlife Watch is our most successful community science project to date! Last year over 100 dedicated volunteers collected and analyzed 100,000’s of trail camera images to help understand the Wasatch’s wildlife populations and movement corridors. Study sites are located along the Jordan River, to City Creek, and through the Cottonwood Canyons. Learn more.


Stream and Riparian Restoration

Healthy streams benefit many user groups and resources such as wildlife, agriculture, and recreationists. We will do hands-on restoration work in streams. It’s a fun day outdoors and no experience is necessary. Learn more.


Stream Survey (RSRA) Training

Learn how to conduct the Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment (RSRA). This survey assesses stream condition and is used to monitor the effectiveness of our restoration projects. Learn more.

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Plants and Pollinators

The iconic Monarch Butterfly is in trouble. Populations are in significant decline and we know very little about them. We will collect data about butterflies, caterpillars, eggs, and their food, milkweed. In summer 2019 we will be rolling out a new Community Science Project mapping plants and pollinators such as Monarch Butterflies. Learn more.


Black Rosy-finch Study

The Black Rosy-finch is one of the least-studied birds in North America. The future wellbeing of Rosy-finches is hampered by an absence of even basic information. During the winter, we will collect data about Rosy-finches using special bird feeders deployed at Utah’s ski resorts. Learn more.

New Wildlife Project for 2019


Black rosy-finches are one of the least understood birds in North America. Together with partners, Tracy Aviary, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Utah State University, we have been awarded a grant to study this mysterious bird and ensure it is conserved for the future.

Thank You!

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We'd like to thank our friends at the Patagonia Outlet Salt Lake City for inviting us to present data from the 2018 Wasatch Wildlife Watch field season. Along with our partners from the University of Utah Biodiversity and Ecology LabSalt Lake City Trails and Natural Lands, and the Natural History Museum of Utah, we are gearing up for the upcoming field season!

Community Science Volunteer Spotlight

Photo: Steve with his constant companion, Aussie

Photo: Steve with his constant companion, Aussie

Steve Van Winkle is a devoted volunteer supporting our Amphibian and Aquatic Assessment program. Last year, he monitored both Silver Lake and Silver Glance Lake in American Fork Canyon, hiking nearly 6 miles over a 2,000 foot elevation gain each trip.

Steve credits his love of hiking and the outdoors to his grandfather, and throughout his life, he has found ways to enjoy this passion both professionally and personally. Before retirement, Steve worked as a biology teacher in Idaho and helped create curriculum for Project Wild, an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program emphasizing wildlife.

Now that he’s retired, Steve has volunteered for a wildlife organization in Kenya and is looking forward to volunteering in Costa Rica later this year. He enjoys sharing is love of the outdoors with his 20 grandchildren while spending time snowshoeing, fishing, and hiking.

We are so thankful for our robust team of knowledgeable and dedicated community science volunteers.

Science in Service of Wildlife in 2018

As we embark on the new year, we are so grateful for the support we received throughout 2018. With the assistance and encouragement of agency and nonprofit partners, amazing volunteers, and generous donors, we have worked together to accomplish so much during the past year.

2018 Acheivements


Year one of the Wasatch Wildlife Watch was a huge success thanks to the support of our partners, donors, and over 300 dedicated volunteers. The Project is one of the most successful community science projects on the books! This data collection effort on wildlife of the Wasatch Range will continue for years to come and will help inform local management and planning.


The Stream and Riparian Restoration Program keeps making new friends! Along with new agency and non-profit partners, restoration (beaver dam analogues) improved habitat on more of Utah’s streams.


The Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment continues to support restoration goals across the state and region. In 2018, dozens of biologists, resource managers, and volunteers were trained, conducted surveys, and collected critical baseline condition data throughout Utah before riparian restoration efforts proceeded.


The Boreal Toad and Aquatic Habitat Assessment Project celebrated 5 years! The long-term study has been supported by our dedicated volunteers and continues to foster information on Utah’s aquatic habitats and amphibians. These efforts will help inform both future state-wide boreal toad surveys, and determine best habitats for potential reintroduction sites.

Wild Utah Project Grew! In 2018 Janice Gardner, Conservation Ecologist, and Kim Howes, Development Director, joined the team. Their expertise allowed the team to finish strong in 2018.

In 2018, Wild Utah Project supported wildlife projects alongside nearly 20 agency and non-profit partners. We are truly proud of these collaborative efforts and we look forward to reaffirming these collaborations and establishing new partnerships to conserve even more wildlife and precious habitat in 2019.

All the best for a happy New Year!

The Wild Utah Project Team

Meet our Fall Interns

We are pleased to introduce our fall Ecological Science intern, Monica Cooper, and our fall GIS intern, Brendan Gibson.


Monica graduated with a degree in biology from Kalamazoo College in 2014. Since then, she has been working as a biological science technician across the world. Whether it's trapping squirrels in the Yukon, surveying dry forests in Puerto Rico, or monitoring endangered amphibians in the Sierra Nevada; you’ll find her happiest in the field, working to protect the creatures she loves! Eventually, Monica hopes to work as a conservation ecologist for a government agency or a non-profit. She is thrilled to contribute to Wild Utah’s important work this fall!


Brendan is a senior at the University of Utah majoring in Geography with a climate change emphasis, a GIS certificate, and a minor in Atmospheric science. On top of all that, he's also our fall GIS intern. Growing up in Southern California he developed a true love for the outdoors and the ocean. He would often spend time at the beach or in the mountains when he wasn't at school, playing sports, or working. When he's not here making maps, he can be found outside enjoying Utah's beauty.

Last Volunteer Field Activity of 2018

Wild Utah Project, along with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Trout Unlimited, will be completing a stream and riparian habitat improvement project on East Canyon Creek, outside of Jeremy Ranch, on Friday October 5, 2018. We will be constructing "man-made beaver dams" also known as beaver dam analogues. Sign up to join us for this full, and fun, day in the field.

Learn More

Thank you!

Wild Utah Project is dedicated to conserving Utah’s wild landscapes to support diverse wildlife populations across our state. Your donation helps us fulfill our mission to provide science-based strategies for wildlife and land conservation. Invest in Utah’s diverse landscapes and wildlife today! 

2018 Field Season Wrap-up


Our inaugural season of the Central Wasatch mammal trail camera study was a huge success!  We’d like to thank our partners at the Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab at the University of Utah, Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands, and our volunteer citizen scientists. Together we installed and maintained over 200 camera stations across the Central Wasatch Mountains. Many volunteers will continue to support the study by sorting wildlife photos using the online platform, eMammal. The data will be shared with state and federal wildlife management agencies to inform conservation planning for the mammal communities of the Central Wasatch.

2018 marks our 5th year conducting boreal toad and aquatic habitat assessments as a collaboration with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service, Utah Geologic Survey, and the Hogle Zoo. The assessment field protocols are implemented by trained volunteer citizen scientists in coordination with Hogle Zoo. Volunteers visited 25 sites up to 3 times each, contributing over 500 hours of service in 2018. This project continues to aid local wildlife managers in understanding the current occupied range for this rare species in the Wasatch mountains, and importantly, informs potential sites for much needed boreal toad reintroduction. In addition, our annual surveys contribute to a state-wide effort to better understand aquatic habitats and amphibian indicator species; for example, our data goes to the Utah Geological Survey and will be used to inform a new state-wide amphibian habitat model.

It’s been a productive season for our Stream and Riparian Restoration Program! We kicked off the field season back in the Sheeprock Mountains, where, in 2017, we assessed Vernon Creek with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and a team of volunteer citizen scientists in order to record the functional state of the stream before installing Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs or human made beaver dams). In May, we built the last of the dams using citizen science power. We’ll return next year for assessments of ecological and habitat improvements post-BDA installation.   

This summer, we again trained partners with UDWR and more volunteers in the Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment Protocol, this time up at Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area. Then Wild Utah Project staff, interns, and volunteers coordinated with UDWR and our partner, Trout Unlimited, to complete more pre-BDA stream assessments on East Canyon Creek and Fish Creek in the Weber Watershed, and North Eden Creek east of Bear Lake.  Now that we have the baseline data, we are preparing to install even more BDAs on those streams this Fall and next spring.

Learn more about our citizen science programs

Notes from the GIS Lab: Western U.S ‘Outstanding Waters’ Analysis 

Our GIS Lab recently conducted a mapping project that identifies existing and potential streams and wetlands that qualify as ‘Outstanding Natural Resource Waters’ under the EPA designation in the Clean Water Act (National and state waters of exceptional recreational or ecological significance). We gathered, curated, and analyzed datasets across five western states for the conservation organization, Western Resource Advocates. The results of this effort are featured in a customized web-based mapping application developed by Wild Utah Project’s GIS team, which will enable the identification of important water resource designations as well as conditions, and - importantly - will help our partners identify priority areas for future management and conservation of water resources.

Welcome to our Newest Staff Member!
Kim Howes, Development Director

We are thrilled to announce the addition of our new development director, Kim Howes! Kim joined the Wild Utah Project team a few short weeks ago. She received her B.S. in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco, and prior to joining our team, she worked to raise awareness and funds for organizations across the West, including nonprofits in California, Colorado, and Utah. Kim has a passion for connecting organizations with enthusiastic supporters who are eager to make a difference in their community. She specializes in fund development, event planning, strategic marketing, design, and communications.

As our development director, Kim helps promote Wild Utah Project’s mission by leading our fundraising and communication efforts. She’s passionate about preserving Utah’s wild landscapes and protecting our wildlife populations through science-based strategies.

Welcome to the Wild Utah Project team, Kim!

Notes From the Field

Central Wasatch Mammal Camera Study

The Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab at the University of Utah and Wild Utah Project, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Utah and Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands, developed a new citizen science program where volunteers can take ownership of 3 field sites by maintaining, monitoring, and rotating the location of a motion-sensing camera in the Central Wasatch, assist with animal identification in photos, and contribute to an online database in an effort to fill critical data gaps in our understanding of native wildlife populations and their distribution and movement in regards to human influences on the landscape along the Wild-Urban-Interface. Participants in the study attended a formal indoor/outdoor training on April 28th at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Rotation 1 of 3 in this year’s field season has been completed with 100% of the camera’s successfully installed and participation of over 120 volunteers. Rotation 2 is now underway! Thank you to all of the citizen scientists and partners who have made this first field season possible. See the most recent photos and update on this Facebook post by our partners at the Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab.

Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment Training at Hardware Ranch 

Earlier this month Wild Utah Project, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Trout Unlimited and about a dozen Citizen Scientists returned from a successful field training at Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area outside Logan Utah.  The goals of the training were two-fold: 1) to train UDWR and Trout Unlimited staff and interns in the Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment Protocol, 2) to train-up Citizen volunteers in the use of this protocol as well, so they can assist UDWR and Trout Unlimited as they use their training throughout the UDWR’s Northern Region this season to conduct RSRA assessments on streams slated to receive Beaver Dam Analogues.  It’s important to collect ‘pre-BDA’ information on the current state of stream and riparian function before the human-created analogues are installed, so the same method can be used a year or two later to collect needed proof-of-concept data to demonstrate the restorative powers of the BDAs as they raise the water table with a predicted cascade of associated benefits to the stream/riparian system.  Even better, well-placed analogues can smoothly pave the way for natural recolonization or introduction of beaver to continue to keep up the dams.  Click here for the Facebook album of this great Citizen Science Training, and a huge THANK YOU to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for hosting the training at Hardware Ranch.

Welcome Janice Gardner and Daniel Johnson!

  • Welcome to our newest staff member – Conservation Ecologist Janice Gardner! We are thrilled to announce the addition to our staff this month of Conservation Ecologist Janice Gardner.  After earning her B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire and M.S. in Ecology and Environmental Science from the University of Maine, she has held positions as biologist and project manager with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and most recently in environmental consulting. Janice specializes in environmental regulations and management of special-status species. As our new Conservation Ecologist for Wild Utah Project, Janice provides technical assessments for various wildlife research and monitoring projects, state and federal actions, and natural resource planning. Janice also serves on local wildlife working groups, engages with partnership organizations, and supports our citizen science programs.  See Janice’s staff page here.  Welcome to the team, Janice!

  • Welcome also to summer Ecological Field Intern Daniel Johnson.We are also pleased to welcome Daniel Johnson, our summer Ecological Field Intern. Daniel is an undergraduate at Utah State University working toward a degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and set to graduate next spring. He is active in the student chapter of the Wildlife Society, having served as both Public Relations Chair and Vice President.  He spent two summers working for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as a wildlife technician, where he conducted American pika habitat occupancy surveys, bird point counts, white pelican live-trapping, and boreal toad surveys. Daniel served eight years in the Army Reserves, and enjoys a challenging field environment.  Daniel is assisting us this summer with ‘pre beaver/dam analogue’ stream & riparian assessments, boreal toad surveys, a wildlife camera study, and a meta-analysis of the effects of pinyon juniper treatments, which will help fill a big hole in the ecological literature.