In July 2011, I collected diatom samples as a "Citizen Scientist" while rafting the Grand Canyon of the Colorado river. As a marine biologist myself, I understand the importance of data collection in remote locations and how it can help with making new discoveries. I collected samples for USGS ecologist Sarah Spaulding, who studies the tiny microorganisms that live in the river, which collect in a slimy film on the rocks. In various locations, while we were camped by the riverside, I scraped films off the rocks and put them on folded business cards in ziplock bags marked with the river mile, rock type, date and time.
The trip was amazing, with wild rapids, beautiful hikes up side canyons with aqua colored water, rappelling down waterfalls, and fun nights under the stars while camping on beaches. We even filmed a 3D movie of the adventure for Sony, which will be edited soon. I loved collecting data on an adventure to a remote location, which is difficult to get rafting permits for. Combining science and adventure is the way to go!