By: Victoria Ortiz
Nearly 65% of the population are visual learners that absorb and recall information best by seeing,* which is why our volunteer training includes both written and video protocols. We develop training materials in coordination with our partners for every project in order to prepare our volunteers for field work.
Our main goal in building training materials is to ensure that our partners get the data they need - meaning completeness, accuracy and consistency. To conduct work in the field, volunteers must pass protocol tests with a 100% score. They also need to retake the tests periodically to ensure continued protocol retention. All volunteers also regularly interact with Adventure Scientists' staff to make sure they are prepared to participate.
For our newest project, Conserving Biodiversity - Pollinators, we worked with Bozeman-based videographer Aidan Weltner to film short, funny (if we do say so ourselves) and informative protocol videos. We went behind the scenes with Aidan to learn more about the creation of this video.
What was the most challenging aspect of this film? The most exciting/fun?
The most challenging aspect of the film was finding flowers and butterflies. Extended rain storms and fickle wind conditions are the nature of late spring and early summer. I learned that butterflies and flowers do not like wind and thus it took us a little longer to film than expected. On top of that, butterflies are hard to catch and even harder to film!
Which part of the protocol was most confusing to you? How did you find a way to demonstrate the proper method via the video?
Illustrating the tagging of flowers that grow in bushes/groups was the most difficult. We decided that it was best to tell viewers how to do this in the voice overs. I didn't think any aspect of the protocol was confusing. It all seemed pretty intuitive!
A short clip from our Conserving Biodiversity - Pollinators protocol video.
Did anything about this filming process surprise you? How has it affected your perception of Adventure Scientists?
I always thought that Adventure Scientists’ projects required a lot of prior experience to participate. Now, I think that people who enjoy recreating outside could and should apply to contribute in these studies.
Edward Abbey used to measure driving time in six packs. How many six packs did it take to produce this film?
At least four. Maybe 4.33
Anything else you’d like to mention/includes?
Bring ankle braces. Those damn ground squirrel dens seem to be easier to find when you're focused on the butterfly flying erratically 10 feet in front of you.
Join our online network of people around the world working together to unlock solutions to pressing environmental issues.
By: Emma Bode
Each year, 8,000,000 tons of plastic enter marine environments*. An astonishing 80% of this plastic comes from terrestrial sources. Among this plastic are tiny plastic fragments and fibers, five millimeters or smaller, known as microplastics. How are these minuscule pollutants entering our waterways?
At the headwaters of the Missouri River, the Gallatin Watershed provides a great opportunity to observe the effects of urbanization on freshwater microplastic levels. Through the Adventure Scientists’ Gallatin Microplastics Initiative, volunteers like myself collect water samples from a multitude of sites across the watershed. These samples are then analyzed for their microplastic content.
A couple weeks ago, Adventure Scientists founder and Executive Director Gregg Treinish spoke at the 2017 National Geographic Explorers Festival. The National Geographic Society celebrates exploration every day of the year, but during Explorers Festival they bring together the most fascinating and innovative scientists, conservationists, explorers, and storytellers to share—with one another, and with the world—how their discoveries and ideas are creating change for the better.
Gregg spoke on the Citizens for Science panel about inspiring the next generation of explorers and activating citizen scientists around the world to help answer critical questions. We hope you enjoy!
By: Michelle Toshack
How robust are butterfly populations in wilderness areas? What management strategies can be adopted to address the conservation of these species? These are some of the questions that Adventure Scientists is tackling with our Conserving Biodiversity - Pollinators project. We’ve pulled together four peer-reviewed articles* that helped us understand how to best approach this effort. They serve as important background reading on current issues around butterfly conservation.
Phenology Asynchrony in Plant-Butterfly Interactions Associated with Climate: a Community-Wide Perspective. 2016. Isabel Donoso, Constantí Stefanescu, Alejandro Martínez-Abraín and Anna Traveset. Oikos.
This article investigates timing mismatch between butterfly emergence and their host plants in the Mediterranean. They looked at the different factors that may affect this mismatch, such as aridity and temperature. Many butterfly species, including both generalists and specialists, are vulnerable to phenology mismatch. This will continue to have an impact on butterfly populations in the face of environmental change.
By: Dr. Katy Prudic
Butterfly caterpillars are nature’s hot dogs, which acquire large amounts of fat in order to prepare for the magical body transformation known as pupation. Birds, spiders, wasps, mammals, lizards, and even humans all dine on juicy caterpillars. I can say from personal experience that some caterpillars are nutty, some are buttery, and many are excellent with garlic. The name butterfly is quite appropriate for the caterpillar stage.
In January 2017, Corinne Gardner arrived in southern Chile to the interdisciplinary Parque Etnobotánical Omora research station. While there she collected freshwater samples for Adventure Scientists Global Microplastics Initiative, guided English and Spanish citizen-science nature hikes in the world’s most southern forest, and charted a new trail with a sprightly expedition team in Los Dientes (Teeth) de Navarino. Here she shares a few of her favorite shots from the experience.
"Could the world’s most southern austral forest contain microplastic pollutants? I signed up as an Adventure Scientist volunteer to find out." - Corinne Gardner
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