Human Powered Adventure Science from Reno to Prudhoe Bay
Adam Bradley is an avid adventure athlete with a speed record of the PCT in 2009 and has traveled over 20,000 miles on foot and 13,000 river miles on his quest for human powered adventures. Adam is currently biking from his front door in Reno, NV to Prudhoe Bay, AK and back. Along his journey he will be recording observations of road kill for the ASC Road Kill Survey for Road Bikers. Adam's contribution to this project will help researchers identify areas with high animal/vehicle interactions along the stretches of road he travels. Below is an excerpt from his blog, Never Came Back, explaining how ASC will fit into his human powered trip
Mary Catherine O'Connor of Outside Magazine kindly put me in touch with another NGO: Scientists and Adventurers for Conservation. This group I highly recommend to any outdoors aficionado as we all as outdoors people may contribute to science through our observations out in the wild. There are several ongoing studies on their website that one may take part in by simply creating an account and uploading the locations of their observations. One that caught my eye for being a perfect fit for my bicycle leg of the Tippy Top Tour is the road kill study. Not only do they want data collected on road kill that is observed along my route, but also the waypoints of all the live animals I observe. Cool thing about that is when I return they will also be able to use my uploaded data from last years BLC to Bering Sea adventure. This data is then used with regards to recommendations for wildlife corridors along busy highways where collision with animals may be avoided.
Paul Gamche is exploring new rivers in his kayak and collecting beetles for ASC
ASC Adventurer Paul Gamache is a professional white water kayaker who has explored waterways around the world. His latest adventure is in Cameroon, one of the least explored countries for white water paddling. Paul has spent the last few months scouting rivers and making first descents. Along the way he has also been collecting beetles for the ASC World Wide Beetle project. Read more about Paul's kayaking expedition at http://www.chutesducameroun.com.
I left Arcata, California in January of 2013 and headed to Cameroon, West Africa in search of whitewater. As I was packing my bags I received an email from my friend Haven Livingston. She had just had written an article for International Rivers on “Citizen Science” and went on to tell me about the work ASC was doing.
Excited about adding value to the kayaking expedition as well as helping out others with their research, I filled out the info request on the ASC website. Within a short time ASC had connected my exploratory whitewater kayaking expedition with a group of scientists who were looking to study beetle specimens from the area. After a Skype meeting with ASC in the U.S. and a scientist currently in Kenya, I started collecting beetles.
ASC Adventurer Veronique Verhoeven spent the winter traveling through Antarctica as the doctor aboard a ship. During her travels she collected microbe samples for the High Altitude Microbe project and recorded whale observations for two ASC science projects. The ship sailed to the Ross Sea near Mc Murdo Base. The crew took a helicopter to explore the Dry Valleys. The permits for scientists and visitors are very strict and Veronique is happy to share these photos from such a remote place.
Karen and Markus Head Out for the Second leg of Their Journey in Search of Roadkill
Karen and Markus are world travellers and avid adventurers. For the second leg of their trip, they are bicycling through Europe and recording roadkill observations for theASC Roadkill Survey for Road Bikers. For more on their trip, visit their website http://2enroute.blogspot.com/.
There are many reasons the average person might stop and stare at Markus and I as we go about daily life on this trip. It might be because we are pushing fully loaded bikes up flights of stairs in a crowded train station. It could be the impossible-to-ignore fluorescent orange biking vests. Or it might be because we are standing in the middle of a road photographing squashed toads.
Peace Corp Volunteers to Collect Data for ASC While Working in Peru
Grant Adams is passionate about making a difference. He is currently living and working in Ulcumayo, Peru as a Peace Corps Volunteer focusing on environmental management. While his work includes projects in everything from reforestation to tourism, much of it is focused around education in basic conservation and pollution reduction. As if this were not enough, Grant is also working with ASC and the Pacific Biodiversity Institute to collect data from the remote areas around the town in which he lives. The information he gathers and sends back will help to form a clearer picture of this region and the species at risk within it.
The Pacific Biodiversity Institute is making strides to collect as much data as possible in South America in order to identify areas that are at high risk for biodiversity loss. By exploring South America’s wild places, recording biodiversity, and determining the impacts of humans on various ecosystems, the organization is forming a more coherent image of these environments. With more information about wild areas, the Pacific Biodiversity Institute is able to identify how and where conservation efforts should be focused. This requires many partnerships stretching from the local level to a global scale, a great deal of coordination, and of course – volunteers like Grant.
Hari Mix Collects Snow Samples on Lobuche East
Hari Mix is a PhD Candidate at Stanford University and is climbing in the Himalaya as part of a team of researchers, TripleED, who are studying decision making in high altitude environments. Hari is collecting snow samples and lichen for two ASC projects while attempting to summit Mt. Everest and East Lobuche.
One interesting twist in my climb was that I’ve continued to work with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation to do some climate science projects on these trips. As long as I’m a scientist and heading to these wild places, the least I can do is help some of my peers who need data. Just below the summit of Lobuche East yesterday, I rappelled off the lip of a crevasse to get some snow and ice samples for Natalie Kehrwald, who’s work focuses on the thinning of Himalayan glaciers due to climate change and the role of dust and other particles in accelerating the melting. A huge thanks to Chris Klinke, our expedition leader, who helped me set up our anchor system, and Markus Hallgren, the head of our TripleED research project on how teams are organized. Markus let me take the time off from my main research duties to pull this off. I’ll continue doing some science projects on Everest. I hope to collect the highest plant life ever and also create an altitude transect of smaller snow samples as high as I can. I’ll just say that carrying 15 1L Nalgene bottles up to 20,000ft was plenty hard!
To follow Hari's expedition, learn more about his research, or see more beautiful photos please visit his blog www.hmix.org.
ASC Adventurer, Laura Smith braves ice fields and frigid water for science
Laura K.O. Smith recently returned from sailing the Antarctic Peninsula while collecting data for two ASC studies on whale and penguin behavior. Sailing on Quijote, a 40-foot sailboat designed and crafted by her husband, Federico Guerrero, the crew departed January 27 from Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world.
Guerrero began building Quijote in 2008, and launched her maiden voyage in 2011. Guerrero and Smith had always dreamed of sailing the Antarctic Peninsula, and Quijote was built with that rigorous expedition in mind. Smith said the vessel did well on the journey that began with Deception Island and continued south through the Argentine Islands to Vernadsky Station, crossing the infamous Drake Passage twice and carefully meandering through seemingly endless ice fields.
Irina Muschik is a wildlife biologist from Germany who has been travelling East through Russia interviewing wildlife researchers for her project, Greentrousers. She has been collecting data for several ASC projects including Pika Monitoring andRoadkill Observations. Irina is on her way to Mongolia, but wrote this interesting tale of the medicinal uses of pika.
While travelling throughCentral Asia ASC connected me topika researcher, Andrew Smith, who commissioned me with a very mysterious task. He told me about a traditional medicine, called mumeo, thatÂ´s solely used in Central Asia and contains pika feces! My initial thought was: "What the heck?!", but at the same time I was hooked. I wanted to know everything about it and would ask any Central Asian I encountered about this mysterious stuff. Andrew wanted to know if mumeo is still in use and if you can buy it on the markets. The second demand he gave me wasnÂ´t as funny unfortunately: pikas in Asia are threatened by poisoning and I should ask around if this is still happening. I spent two month in Kazakhstan, travelling the vast country from west to east and south to north. Plenty of different pika species are inhabiting the steppes and the lesser known mountainous parts of this beautiful part of the world.
Grant Mooney Searches for Wildlife on Mt. Kilimanjaro
ASC adventurer, Grant Mooney, recently summited Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and collected animal observations for UMass Amherst Senior Research Fellow, Doug Hardy. Dr. Hardy, a specialist in climate and glaciers, is looking for evidence of mammals and birds at high elevations (above 13,000 ft) of Kilimanjaro. He plans to use radiocarbon dating on frozen remains of animals in order to more accurately estimate the age of Kilimanjaro’s ice.
As Mooney ascended the 19,341-foot Tanzanian mountain, he used his GPS to mark the altitude and coordinates of the animals he spotted. He observed 15 to 20 birds and small rodents at high altitudes, including a mouse at the 17,000-foot mark. Most of the animals Mooney saw were scavengers, such as white napped ravens, which he assumed traveled to high elevations to feed on the scraps left behind by climbers.
A Riparian Oasis in the Sonoran Desert? John Davis Visits a Rancher with a Unique Outlook on Repairing Over-grazed Lands
A Case for Good Dams
ASC is proud to be involved with John Davis, TrekWest, and the Wildlands Network to bring awareness to the importance of protecting wildlife corridors. John will travel 5,000 miles from Mexico to Canada on foot, bike, horse, and many other forms of transportation to inspire others to protect these important wildlife thoroughfares. Along John's journey he will be collecting data for several ASC projects including Roadkill Observations, Wildlife Observations, observing ptarmigan, and the Pika Project. This post was retrieved from http://trekwest.org/blog/blog-11-a-case-for-good-dams/ on March 14th, 2013.
Rancho San Bernadino, Sonora, Mexico, along US border
Eventually, these check dams will disappear beneath the soil and plant communities, as all good dams should…”
Until recently, I thought only beavers could build beneficial dams. Valer Austin convinced me, as well as Oprah, otherwise. On many formerly eroded and degraded hillsides on Cuenca Los Ojos lands, Valer and Josiah Austin and their restoration teams have built gabions, small check dams,to slow water run-off and allow soil to rebuild. At their showpiece restoration site, San Bernadino Ranch, on the south side of the Arizona/Sonora border, they have also built larger earthen dams, to accrete soil and vegetation layers back up to near their original levels.
The biggest dam is more than a hundred yards wide and, including the spillway, more than 20 feet high – to match the arroyo down-cutting resulting from decades of heavy grazing by cows. The dams are not pretty, being essentially caged rocks, but they do their jobs well. Layers of sediment accumulate behind the check dams, more caged rocks are piled atop, and gradually the ground returns to its natural levels. Eventually, these check dams will disappear beneath the soil and plant communities, as all good dams should.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation Blog.