Sasquatch meets the citizen science movement

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A drawing from the book.

Acclaimed Seattle science writer David George Gordon is intrigued by tales of the legendary Sasquatch that have fueled the lore of the Pacific Northwest for centuries.

Gordon notes that so far, evidence of this celebrated Wild Man of the Woods has been dubious. But, in his new book, The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual: Using Citizen Science to Uncover North America’s Most Elusive Creature (Mountaineers Books), Gordon encourages people to follow the tenets of science in gathering credible data to further the understanding of the Sasquatch.

He sets forth the scientific protocols for data collection, from effective written and photographic documentation to collecting hair, scat, footprints and other evidence. The book also details hikes in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California where sightings have been previously reported. Gordon has created a website for reports from intrepid Sasquatch hunters and other interested readers.

The new book has been nominated for the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award in the Nature and Environment category. Gordon, who lives in Seattle with his wife, artist Karen Luke Fildes, is the author of 19 other books on nature and biology on subjects ranging from gray whales and cockroaches to sea lions and bald eagles. His best known book may be The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, which has led to appearances ranging from the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University to the Singapore Food Festival and the San Diego Comic Con.

How did you come to write this somewhat offbeat field guide?

I actually had written a little book in 1992 called The Field Guide to the Sasquatch. Then, at the Northwest Science Writers Association annual party three years ago, I bumped into a woman who said I should consider redoing the book because it was out of print. She was also an editor at Mountaineers Books, so with an outline and a short proposal, I was off and running.

I had been working as a science writer at Washington Sea Grant, a branch of NOAA at the University of Washington, so I was aware of citizen science, I turned this book into citizen science meets the Sasquatch, and how to be a better citizen scientist.

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