April showers… are still bringing snow. Springtime in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is finally here — temperatures are above freezing (if barely), birds are migrating through the area (most recently mountain bluebirds and killdeer), and RCF is getting its 2020 field season prepped.
This year, the RCF field crews face not only the usual challenges of working in the GYE (more on that in a future blog!), but also the responsibility to carry out good science while practicing social distancing and safety procedures for researchers and wildlife alike in the midst of Covid-19.
Our usual projects including the Loon Study, Monument Ridge MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding and small mammal research, Clark’s Nutcracker project, and Trumpeter Swan rearing will move forward; adapted to adjust for social distancing, changing logistics, and adhering to closures of parts of our study area. Luckily for us, Jackson Fork Ranch is home to plenty of resources for carrying out our projects, developing new studies, and has allowed our researchers to self-quarantine according to CDC guidelines to keep our community safe and our research strong.
The 2020 season will likely require a great deal of flexibility, positivity, and creativity, but we’re excited for what is to come and to play our part in flattening the curve of Covid-19 while conserving wildlife and assisting our state and federal agency partners.