Dave Anderson, director and chief scientist for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, examines a milkweed plant at a ranch north of Rifle. Milkweed has recently been threatened by use of herbicides, and conservationists have given the plant more attention, as Monarch butterfly larvae feed on the plant. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
Early Tuesday morning, Alexandra St. Denis examines a deer mouse alongside John Sovell, a zoologist and ecologist with CSU's Colorado Natural Heritage Program. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
Bryologist Stacey Anderson views a patch of yet-unidentified moss under a microscope after collecting the sample from the ranch near Rifle. Anderson added drops of water to the dried moss, reviving a small bud, and watched it unfold back into life under the microscope. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
John Sovell, a zoologist and ecologist with the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, demonstrates for student interns how the small traps operate and how to retrieve an animal from inside. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
Colorado State University student Terutaka Funabashi holds a deer mouse captured north of Rifle in a biodiversity study the university's Colorado Natural Heritage Program calls a "bioblitz." The project is collecting wildlife and plant life data from a couple of Garfield County sites for future conservation efforts. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
Riley Reed, an Colorado State University student and Colorado Natural Heritage Program intern, wrangles a deer mouse into position after the group captured the tiny rodent in one of 50 small traps set the night before. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
Holding a trap that was set the night before, Colorado State University senior Lauren Hughes receives instructions on how to wrangle a captured mouse without getting bitten and without harming the animal. RYAN | Ryan Summerlin / Post Independen
Zoologist and ecologist John Sovell shows students how to access a sonogram that was placed to monitor for bats on the ranch. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
After retrieving a mouse by the scruff of its neck, a student strokes the animal before releasing it back into the brush. Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent |
Colorado State University scientists, student interns and a couple of high schoolers are venturing into land in Spring Valley and north of Rifle this week to collect wildlife and plant life data, adding to a data set to be used in future conservation efforts.
Rising before dawn Tuesday morning, the scientists and scientists-to-be made the rounds checking 50 small traps at the ranch they’d set the previous night in the hopes of snaring some small mammals. This is the project’s second year to study the ecosystems at these locations, both owned by John Powers.
The team of scientists and interns from CSU’s Colorado Natural Heritage Program is in the area for four days conducting a range of biodiversity studies, which the program has dubbed a “bioblitz.”
Along with trapping and making records of small mammals, this project includes bird surveys, non-harmful fish shocking, insect surveys, as well as the inventory and study of plant life.
This project is also being conducted in collaboration with CMC staff and students, as well as the Aspen Global Change Institute.
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