This project would help the park and the Glacier Conservancy to work with a local university to develop a smartphone application to allow park visitors and staff to report wildlife sightings in the park. The app will allow visitors to pinpoint animal sightings throughout the park and share the information with park staff, significantly improving the data available to scientists about Glacier’s wildlife behavior — from locations and movement to herd migrations. Such an app will enhance people’s connections to the park by coupling the excitement of wildlife viewing with their ability to be a resource to the park through the use of cutting edge smart phone technology. This project is a modern update to a 2012 project that the Conservancy funded Wildlife Notebooks. The funding of the Wildlife Notebooks was a great first step in involving visitors to record wildlife sightings and while it’s been very popular, the increasing capacity of smart phones to capture, manage and share data offers much more potential than a notebook today. This app will also save the park time and resources, providing a solution to the laborious data entry that park staff now undertakes when recording reports on wildlife sightings from the notebooks.
The application once downloaded, will be able to store sighting information in the absence of cell phone service. Downloads will be completed after access to service is restored.