Scientists Harness Adventurers in Search of Data
Five months ago, Gregg Treinish (National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2008) founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), an organization that provides a space for collaboration between the adventure and science worlds to protect and learn about the environment. “We need to stand up and fight for the areas we care about,” says Trenish, who described a selfish feeling, common among adventurers, for not being able to do more for the areas that he loves and explores. He wants to give scientists a viable and inexpensive means to gather data and adventurers an opportunity to do more on their excursions.
The response Gregg has received so far has been pretty tremendous and he feels that the adventure community is fully on board. The citizen scientist movement recognizes that concerned people can make important contributions in science and citizen-scientists are playing a crucial role in the environmental movement. ASC currently has adventurers collecting data on five continents for researchers who are interested in conservation. The data collected in the field is independently verified in labs to ensure the usability of the information being gathered.
Whether the adventurer is capable of hiking the Himalayas or sticks to day hikes, ASC matches scientists who need data collection with the adventurer’s ability. “From Gregg’s experience on expeditions he knows and tries to match up projects that will be attainable for the adventurer and where it will be possible to provide good data without overly impacting the adventure,”says Justin Lichter an adventurer for ASC.
Justin Lichter and his hiking partner Shawn Forrey hiked from the eastern most peak of the Himalayas to the western most peak. During their hike they were way pointing places where they saw or heard pikas and took pictures of their nests. Pikas are an important indicator species for climate change and the loss of the pika would affect many species that depend on it. On the same expedition but for a different research project, Lichter surveyed local people and way pointed bar headed geese for comparative psychologist, Jessica Meir. These sightings will help researchers understand which altitudes they prefer to fly at and more about environmental pressures the geese come across as they migrate across the Himalayas.
Gregg hopes to recruit citizen-scientists to help in the Yellowstone park area to collect data about the absence and presence of grizzly bears in areas adjacent to white bark pine trees.
ASC primarily depends on private donations for support. Sign up to be a member on their website today.