Focal Species

The Nature Mapping Jackson Hole Scientific Advisory Committee is encouraging you to look for some unusual species that are of particular interest to research biologists around the valley such as the Clark's Nutcracker and Wolverine. These scientists may use our findings to aid their work. For all of these focal species, please enter your observations using the standard data entry form selecting either "Casual Observations" or, if applicable, "Project Backyard."

Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga Columbiana)

Clark’s Nutcrackers are conspicuous and charismatic. As prolific seed dispersers, they also play an outsized role in our region’s imperiled Whitebark Pine forests. Whether you find yourself in the backcountry or in the backyard, we want to know where and when you are seeing Clark’s Nutcrackers.

To this end, Nature Mapping Jackson Hole is supporting the Clark’s Nutcracker Project, a conservation partnership led by Field Naturalist Anya Tyson in concert with the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation. Tyson engages NOLS (formerly known as the National Outdoor Leadership School) and the Teton Science Schools to conduct surveys for Clark’s nutcrackers on backcountry expeditions. The collective efforts of many instructors and students result in an important data set for conservation biologist Dr. Taza Schaming.

Nature Mappers have the opportunity to contribute to the project by logging their nutcracker sightings in Teton County. Dr. Schaming is as interested in the nutcrackers you see in your backyard as she is in the far-flung nutcrackers she has followed deep into the wilderness. Your data will allow her to track local nutcracker habitat use. Because nutcrackers may skip reproduction under poor environmental conditions, Nature Mappers should be sure to share any sightings of juvenile nutcrackers. Ultimately, Dr. Schaming will use these citizen-generated data sets in concert with other research to craft management recommendations that benefit nutcrackers and whitebark pines alike. Learn more here.

Wolverine (Gulo Gulo)
Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are the largest terrestrial member of the weasel family. Wolverines are naturally rare and persist at extremely low population densities. Very few individual wolverines have been detected in Wyoming. The current status and distribution of wolverines in Wyoming is largely unknown, and there are vast tracts of potential wolverine habitat in the high country of the state. Formal wolverine surveys and research have been applied in the Teton Range and Yellowstone National Park, but outside of these areas, detections are scarce.
Spotted a Wolverine?
Have you spotted a wolverine or seen any wolverine tracks? Every piece of evidence about wolverines is greatly appreciated by wolverine biologists since they are so rare. Contact us to report anything you see.