Ear: Walrus

Now that the winter doldrums are on the horizon, you will need to keep yourself entertained. Well, here's a project from SmithsonianMag.com for you that will also help the World Wildlife Fund and British Antarctic Survey: Counting walruses.

The "Walrus From Space" project needs half a million volunteer "walrus detectives" to count them using satellite images. The goal is to assess how climate change specifically affects the ice the Atlantic walrus and those from the Laptev Sea in Russia depend on.

It's very difficult to assess walrus populations using regular methods, since they live in such remote areas, not to mention they constantly move around on the ice. However, satellite images can survey large tracts of land.

Want to be a walrus detective? You can register at bit.ly/123walrus. You'll be doing a good deed.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.