The Living Snow Project

We are characterizing the biodiversity of alpine snow with the help of local community volunteers who love the mountains and can help us collect samples while they are traveling in snowy alpine ecosystems.  


We recruiting for the Spring 2020 season.

Our volunteers are people who recreate in the mountains who can collect from places that are difficult to reach. Want to help?  We will send you a kit! Kits will be sent out in Spring 2020.  

Become a Volunteer: Sign Up Form

Report a snow sighting (NEW!): Snow Algae Observations

The Living Snow Project’s goal is to engage the outdoor recreation community in research that is helping us understand the biology of pink snow and its impact on snowmelt dynamics. By empowering people of all ages to participate in science in the places they love to play, we help cultivate a deeper awareness of our living planet and a greater appreciation for the conservation of threatened ecosystems.

To learn more about snow algae and the Living Snow project, see the talk Dr. Kodner gave at NWAC’s NSAW meeting in 2017:  NSAW talk

We can only visit a limited number of sites in a season, and community scientists can dramatically increase our sampling resolution.  Our study is focused on the North and Central Cascades but we would also like samples from anywhere you may be headed.  You can also contact us at or Dr. Kodner directly at 

The Process

  1. Sign up on the google form above
  2. We will send you a kit or you can pick one up at our pick-up spots (Bellingham: Backcountry Essentials and the Bellingham Mountaineer’s;  Seattle: Seattle Mountaineers’ Clubhouse and Patagonia Seattle – downtown location)
  3. Collect pink or red snow on your trip.  Record your GPS coordinates, your name, and the name of your location on the sample tube.
  4. Request return postage from us and send your sample back in.

Interactive map of samples from 2018 (click)


Post photos of you collecting on Instagram!

We want to see all the rad things folks are doing when y’all collect for us.  When you post your pictures on Instagram, use the hashtags:

#🍉❄️ #livingsnow

How do you collect a sample?

A sampling kit contains a sample tube, glove, set of sampling instructions and a LSP sticker!

Sampling can be done in 3 easy steps and shouldn’t take more than 2-5 minutes.

Step 1:  Put on sampling glove (so your hands don’t contaminate the sample).

Step 2:  Scoop snow into the tube, make sure to tighten the cap well when you are done.

Step 3:  Label tube with GPS coordinates, site description, date, your name.

You can also watch Dr. Kodner explain how to sample in this video:  snow algae sampling how-to video or here:

Past Seasons Results:

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