The Conservation Canines are hard at work.
Photo by: Jaymi Heimbuch

Earth Day 2016: Take a “paws” to be inspired

In this 46th year of Earth Day celebration, there has never been a more adorable, fluffy, and slobbery champion.

The Conservation Canines team, based out of the University of Washington, spends a lot of time thinking outside of the box to solve complex issues. The group uses skilled detection dogs to locate and collect the scat (droppings) of various endangered and threatened species all around the world. Biological information derived from the scat can paint a clear picture of how stressed an animal is, while also pinpointing key genetic traits of a population. You can read more about their daring and innovative work in the third edition of Ampersand magazine.

 

Class is in session for the Conservation Canines
Photo courtesy of: Conservation Canines

Here in our own backyard, the Conservation Canine team is pairing up with King County Noxious Weeds to explore the use of detection dogs to locate one nasty weed: garlic mustard. The fragrant plant can sometimes be located by the human nose, if growing in a very large patch. Smaller infestations are more difficult to find, especially because the camouflaged weed looks like many other plants in our region and can grow virtually anywhere. Luckily, the professional detection pups have shown that they can locate scat the size of a fennel seed, so this little weed is no match for those noses!

Read more about their new work in King County, and feel inspired this Earth Day by the cutest individuals working to preserve our earth. Join Forterra at any of our Earth Day events across the Puget Sound to kill some weeds the old fashioned way; we’ll find them for you.

  • Michelle Quast

    Michelle can’t get enough of the beautiful Pacific Northwest and on any given weekend, she can be found outside gardening, running or encouraging her lab “dog of the future” to chase lasers. When she’s not getting her hands dirty, she’s inside baking vegan cupcakes, reading a book with her cat or designing her future tiny house. She is a self-proclaimed plant nerd and is always looking to the ground to identify something new.
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