Get Involved

The Alaska Beluga Monitoring Partnership (AKBMP) is a collaboration between several organizations that facilitate citizen science beluga monitoring in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

Become a Beluga Citizen Scientist:

As a volunteer citizen scientist you’ll acquire knowledge about Cook Inlet belugas and their conservation needs, participate in beluga monitoring, and contribute to the collection of scientific data on beluga habitat use at one of our monitoring sites. This is an excellent way to support beluga conservation and recovery all while enjoying your local ecosystem!

If you’d like to sign up with us as a volunteer citizen scientist or receive more information about our monitoring activities, please contact us here. Prior to attending a monitoring session, each volunteer must complete and return a short volunteer application / waiver and attend an in-person monitoring orientation (about 60-90 minutes in total). Orientations will be held in Anchorage, Girdwood, and Kenai in mid-late August, during which we will provide you with more information on our monitoring activities and provide instruction on how follow our monitoring protocols and use our data sheets to record beluga activity in the field. Additional orientations will be held in each of those locations on an as needed basis. If no upcoming orientations are scheduled for your area but you are still interested in being a monitoring volunteer please send us an email. All participants must be at least 18 years of age unless accompanied by an adult guardian. We will be happy to help participants document their volunteer hours for course credit or any other purpose.

Monitoring Dates (2019)

Fall Monitoring Season: August 15 – November 15, 2019

Each monitoring session lasts about two hours and is typically scheduled around the time at high tide at each monitoring site. Volunteers can view and sign up to attend monitoring sessions on our AKBMP Monitoring Schedule, which will be made available to volunteers after they attend a monitoring orientation and submit their volunteer forms to one of our partner programs. We ask that each volunteer commit to attending a minimum of three monitoring sessions over the course of a field season (about a six hour commitment in total); however, there is no maximum limit on how many sessions a volunteer may attend. Updates about monitoring orientations and sessions will also be posted on our Facebook page.

AKBMP Monitoring Sites (2019)

Ship Creek

Operated by Beluga Whale Alliance (BWA) as a part of their Citizen Science Monitoring Program and co-hosted by Defenders of Wildlife

*We monitor from the small boat launch overlooking Knik Arm

Bird Point

Operated by Beluga Whale Alliance (BWA) as a part of their Citizen Science Monitoring Program

Twentymile River

Operated by Beluga Whale Alliance (BWA) as a part of their Citizen Science Monitoring Program

Kenai River

Operated by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance (AWA)

Kasilof River

Operated by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance (AWA)


Upcoming Monitoring Orientations:

Prior to conducting a monitoring session with us, all AKBMP volunteers must attend an in-person monitoring orientation (each orientation lasts about 60-90 minutes in total) . The dates, times, and locations of our upcoming monitoring orientations are listed below. If you plan on attending a monitoring orientation, please make sure to RSVP for that orientation in advance (we will send out RSVP links via email to volunteers in our database and will post links to this RSVP form in the following section and on our Facebook page). Each volunteer only needs to attend one orientation per season; we recommend that you attend the orientation for the primary site that you plan to volunteer at (e.g., if you are based in Anchorage and plan to volunteer at Ship Creek more often than other sites, please attend the Anchorage orientation). Please bring along a notebook and pen with you to the orientation in the event that you would like to take notes; no other materials are necessary. If you are not able to attend one of the following orientations but would like to get involved in our monitoring efforts, please email us here.

Girdwood: We will be holding our next and last orientation of this season on October 7, 2019 (6:00-7:30 PM) in the Art Room at the Girdwood PreK-8 Elementary School (680 Hightower Rd.) in Girdwood, Alaska.  This orientation will be hosted by the AKBMP, Beluga Whale Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife Alaska, and the Four Valleys Community School. Anyone who has not yet attended an AKBMP orientation this season but would like to participate in our monitoring program at our Ship Creek, Bird Point, and/or Twentymile River locations should attend this event. Please RSVP here if you plan to attend.

Anchorage: No additional monitoring orientations planned for this season; please check back in Spring 2020.

Kenai/Kasilof: No additional monitoring orientations planned for this season; please check back in Spring 2020.

*Please stay tuned for updates


Other Ways to Get Involved

 If you are not interested in participating in shore-based monitoring efforts but would like to share past or present Cook Inlet beluga whales sightings, you can do so here.