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The Living Snow Project

Main Project Information
Presented By Kodner Lab at Western Washington University
Goal study snow microbe communities in alpine environments
Task collect samples, make observations
Where California, United States of America, Colorado, United States of America, Idaho, United States of America, Montana, United States of America, Nevada, United States of America, Oregon, United States of America, Utah, United States of America, Washington, United States of America, Wyoming, United States of America

Scientists at Western Washington University need your help collecting pink snow samples while you are out skiing, climbing, or hiking this spring and summer for The Living Snow Project. The project is studying snow algae communities using DNA samples from across the Cascades. Snow algae are pink or red cells that live in/on the snow and are often called ‘watermelon snow’. The algae's dark color increases the rate that snow and ice melt, which are a stress on the rapidly receding glaciers of the Cascades Mountains. They are recruiting volunteers now for the 2018 season. Collecting samples is super easy and sample kits won't take up much space in your pack. To sign up to participate, fill out a google form on the project website,, or email Dr. Robin Kodner at

Project Timing The snow algae bloom usually from Mid May until it snows in the mountains again in October (in the Pacific Northwest). We will take samples at any time you may find snow algae.
Social Media
Android App URL
Materials List Sampling kit
Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Ideal Frequency Other
Average Time Less than an hour
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a hike
Training Materials
Tags alpine, glaciers, mountains, snow algae, snow microbes
Project Updated 05/23/2018