SVC Partners With USGS And Earthwatch Institute To Study Huckleberries

Huckleberries are an important food resource for a number of native species.  In western Montana, few are so dependent upon these fruits as grizzly bears who feed day and night on the berries in summer and fall in order to gain fat needed for the long winter months of hibernation. Climate change may affect the availability and production of these berries, which in turn may influence bear movements, reproductive success, and perhaps even behavior, as they search for food sources.  

Swan Valley Connections has teamed up with the U.S. Geological Survey and Earthwatch Institute to study environmental variables that influence berry production. Teams of volunteers from the Earthwatch Institute will be working with SVC and USGS scientists to gather data at various locations in the Swan and Mission Mountains to help answer questions such as how do temperature and precipitation affect berry production? What other wildlife species feed on huckleberries? Which insects pollinate huckleberry flowers and how do weather patterns affect pollination? With Earthwatch volunteers, SVC will assist the USGS by overseeing the entire field project.

For the past 45 years Earthwatch Institute has supported scientific research around the world by providing volunteers to conduct fieldwork. We are excited to work with new partners and welcome the USGS and Earthwatch to our watershed.

IMAGE: Sarah Bolton