Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area
without a baseline we cannot measure change. MALT’s purchase of 92
acres on Pennsylvania Mountain has protected a unique alpine ecosystem where we
have that historical baseline. It's made all the difference in our
research on bumble bees and will allow scientists in the future to see how the
changes we’ve observed continue to unfold.” - Dr. Candace Galen, Professor of Biological Sciences at University of Missouri.
“As scientists, without a baseline we cannot measure change. MALT’s purchase of 92 acres on Pennsylvania Mountain has protected a unique alpine ecosystem where we have that historical baseline. It's made all the difference in our research on bumble bees and will allow scientists in the future to see how the changes we’ve observed continue to unfold.” - Dr. Candace Galen, Professor of Biological Sciences at University of Missouri.
Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area Bees in Science Magazine
Just published research in the September 2015 Science magazine co-authored by MALT Ambassador Dr. Candace Galen and MALT Pennsylvania Mountain Research Intern Elizabeth Hedrick finds that in two alpine bumble bee species, decreases in tongue length have evolved over 40 years. Researchers have concluded that a shorter tongue has allowed bumblebees to suck nectar from a wider variety of flowers. "Our analyses suggest that reduced flower density at the landscape scale is driving this shift in tongue length," the authors wrote in the study. "Although populations of long-tongued bees are undergoing widespread decline, shifts in foraging strategies may allow alpine bumblebees to cope with environmental change," the authors wrote. "We see broader bumblebee foraging niches, immigration by short-tongued bumblebees, and shorter tongue length within resident bee populations as floral resources have dwindled. In remote mountain habitats - largely isolated from habitat destruction, toxins, and pathogens - evolution is helping wild bees keep pace with climate change."
MALT's property at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area is one of the primary research locations where this study was conducted.
- N. E. Miller-Struttmann, J. C. Geib, J. D. Franklin, P. G. Kevan, R. M. Holdo, D. Ebert-May, A. M. Lynn, J. A. Kettenbach, E. Hedrick, C. Galen.Functional mismatch in a bumble bee pollination mutualism under climate change. Science, 2015; 349 (6255): 1541 DOI:10.1126/science.aab0868
Building the Pika Trail
Through generous grant support from The Summit Foundation, MALT will continue its work to make improvements to the Pika Trail, including the constructin of a trailhead kiosk and informational signage.
MALT continued to add to the Pika Trail at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area near Fairplay, CO this summer with a trail building weekend on August 20-21. For this family stewardship experience, MALT along with an outstanding team of
nearly 100 people from Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) finished building
the “Pika Trail” on the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area. An additional 3/4 mile to the trail was added to the 2015 trail. A staggering
1,279 volunteer hours were logged on this job, and we are extremely grateful to
our partners at VOC, Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center and South Park
National Heritage Area for their help and support on this amazing project.
Building a trail in less than ideal weather conditions, on rocky and difficult
terrain was no easy feat, and we are proud to have accomplished our goal this
A very grateful thank you to all the trail building volunteers, the staff and crew leaders from Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center and BPEEC Executive Director Kevin Hosman, Bob and Jill White at Bristlecone View Ranch.
MALT partnered with the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) and other organizations to design and build a trail at the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area. Over a two-day weekend, August 29th and 30th, volunteers worked on constructing a loop trail on MALT's property. It is the first scenic and educational outdoor trail MALT has initiated on its 92 acre parcel for public hiking and snowshoeing access. During the two day project, there were 75 trail building volunteers each day working within diverse geographic habitats around tree line at 11,500 feet.
A number of families were able to join this project while their young ones enjoyed a full day of activities at the nearby Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center (BPEEC). On the way to the trail project , the under 12 year olds were dropped off at Beaver Ponds where they learned about agriculture sustainability, alternative energy and ecology. They were also able to spend time hanging out with the Beaver Ponds alpacas and llamas!
The weekend campsite location was an incredible donation by Bob and Jill White on their beautiful Bristlecone View Ranch surrounded by aspen trees with the scenic Mosquito Range mountain views in the background. Bob and Jill have held two Conservation Easements on their property with MALT since 2011.
A very grateful thank you to all the trail building volunteers, the staff and crew leaders from Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center and BPEEC Executive Director Kevin Hosman, Bob and Jill White at Bristlecone View Ranch and MALT Seasonal Intern Roland Kiessling who made this project possible. Thank you!
More About Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area:
This a dramatic and beautiful 500+acre area surrounded on three sides by public land near Fairplay, Colorado. In 2014, with the generous support of the community, MALT purchased 92 critical acres as part of a multiphase project. This effort ensures the continuing ongoing scientific research conducted by more than a hundred scientists for over 39 years - one of the longest term alpine research sites in the country. Read about research at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area.
Photo provided by Dr. Candace Galen.