The Living Snow Project

The Living Snow Project engages the outdoor recreation community as citizen scientists in research exploring the biodiversity of alpine snow ecosystems. 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.


#🍉❄️ #livingsnow

1. Become a Volunteer

Google Form for Volunteer Sign-up

We need help from people traveling in the mountains who can collect from places that are difficult to reach. Want to help?  We will send you a kit!

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 

2. Make an observation with our new app: 

Download the app:

We are collaborating with our friends at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia to capture snow algae observations in WA and BC in addition to collecting samples.  You can record an observation of snow algae any time with the app.  You are also encouraged to enter an observation in the app when you collect a sample also.

3. 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



This project is generously supported by a grant from the Mazamas and funding from Western Washington University.

We also have a WWU crowdfunding campaign to help us fund the sample kits and sample processing.  Make your tax-deductible donation here:  VikingFunder

The Process

  1. Sign up be a SAMPLER and download the Epicollect app for the Watermelon Snow Sightings project.

  2. If you are collecting for us, we will send you a sampling kit in the spring (with return postage).

  3. Collect pink or red snow when you see it and record your GPS coordinates on the sample tube! Then send the kit back to us  (sample are stable in at ambient temperature for two weeks, and in a refrigerator for a year).

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:


What did you find in the snow sample I sent you? What are the results of your study?

We’re currently working to process samples collected by the Kodner Lab and citizen scientists during the summer of 2017. As soon as we have results from those samples (we expect to have them sometime in the spring of 2018) we’ll update the website. Interested in what we’re up to now? Check out our Instagram feed or the Alpine Algae Research Blog for updates on sampling and what’s happening in the lab.

Your sampling efforts really help us increase the number of samples we collect, and also increase the geographic area we are able to sample. The figure below shows all the locations samples were collected during the summer of 2017. Red markers indicate samples collected by members of the Kodner Lab (Rachael and Robin), and blue markers indicate samples collected by all citizen scientists. Thank you for your help!

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