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The National Wildlife Federation is looking for teachers along the Hi-Line to participate in our Wildlife Xing program. If you teach grades 9-12 in the following areas along the Hi-Line, we invite you help pilot this new citizen-science, or community-science, program.

  • Blackfeet Indian Reservation
  • Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation
  • Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
  • Fort Peck Indian Reservation
  • Counties:
    • Flathead
    • Glacier
    • Chouteau
    • Toole
    • Liberty
    • Hill
    • Blaine
    • Phillips
    • Valley
    • Roosevelt
    • McCone
    • Richland

If you are interested in getting involved with Wildlife Xing Program please contact Naomi Alhadeff at AlhadeffN@nwf.org or 406-542-2803.


Project Summary:

The National Wildlife Federation has partnered with Miistakis Institute in Calgary, AB, Canada to expand the successful and vetted Wildlife Xing Program along the Hi-Line region of Montana . This community-science based approach engages rural communities by training volunteers and high school students with innovative data collection technologies as a means to support agency wildlife-transportation mitigation efforts. Once proof of concept is established, we look to expand the program across Montana and eventually, throughout the West.


Objectives: A two-pronged approach!

First, increase community awareness and engagement by recruiting volunteers through a) community workshops/presentations and, b) building and dispensing a 'wildlife movement' educational unit, culminating in training local high school sciences classes to use the Wildlife Xing program. Second, provide state agencies such as MT DOT and MFWP with wildlife-transportation data, using a standardized process, to aid in their decision-making process.


Activities:

Wildlife Xing is a community-science program using smartphone technology plus on-line mapping to increase data collection efficiency and accuracy of wildlife on or adjacent to roads. These tools can be used in future analyses and strategies to improve wildlife movement for both human and wildlife safety by collecting data on alive and dead animals. Ultimately, this can lead to informed recommendations for reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions while ensuring the safe passage of wildlife across highways.

The National Wildlife Federation looks to grow community awareness and engagement by working with local organizations and community members to recruit and train volunteers on Wildlife Xing through a) community workshops/presentations and, b) building an interactive educational unit with high classrooms. Workshops and presentations will showcase the smartphone app and train interested individuals and groups on data collection techniques. Additionally, schools will utilize NWF's Eco-Schools USA website, allowing students to think creatively and critically about environmental challenges and develop place-based solutions. By incorporating and using the Wildlife Xing app as well as providing activities linked from existing curricula, students will be able to download observations, track class progress, perform various analyses and ultimately, instill awareness and pride in being part of a larger effort.

Data collected by trained community-scientists is a cost-effective approach that ultimately can assist agencies facing wildlife-transportation challenges to accomplish goals. These include reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and improving wildlife connectivity by identifying and prioritizing areas for various mitigation efforts (i.e., fence addition/modification/removal, education, road signs, wildlife crossing structures). Currently, Wildlife Xing is specific to the Hi-Line, however, it is a transferable tool and suitable for other parts of Montana and across the West.


Teachers, with administrative support, will:

  • Complete Wildlife Xing Smartphone application and website training, provided annually by National Wildlife Federation's Project Wildlife Xing project lead with assistance from Miistakis Institute, Montana Renewal credits provided
  • Integrate wildlife biology concepts into the classroom using Wildlife Xing Program
  • Engage students on the use of smartphone application or website database to collect information
  • Provide at least weekly classroom time to upload data and/or discuss classroom data thus far
  • With assistance and training from NWF/Miistakis staff perform data 'quality control' on data uploaded by students at least monthly (e.g. last Friday of each month)
  • Document school and students' progress through photos, stories, videos, or blogs
  • Provide report with successes and challenges by end of school year
  • With school administrative support, complete contracts to receive stipend


Students will:

  • Use a smartphone application or website database to collect information
  • Input data to contribute to a growing database
  • Develop an engineered solution of a wildlife crossing structure or modification in groups
  • Present group projects to various stakeholders and wildlife professionals
  • Document progress through photos, stories, videos, or blogs