By: Emma Bode and Muy Lim
We traveled to Southeast Asia with three goals: climb rocks, eat snacks, and collect freshwater samples for Adventure Scientists' worldwide microplastics project. We are two gals in our early twenties with overactive metabolisms, a taste for environmental science, and a hunger for adventure. Muy, a dual US and Cambodian citizen, and Emma, an American MSU undergraduate, first became involved in the microplastic issue in Bozeman, MT. We volunteered for the freshwater sampling initiative in the Gallatin watershed and were stoked to carry this project with us on our Christmas vacation to Thailand and Cambodia.
Our adventure began in Tonsai Bay, a popular tourist destination in Southern Thailand surrounded by limestone karst formations perched high above the Andaman Sea. For two weeks, we flip-flopped from crag to crag with backpacks filled with climbing gear and a plethora of exotic fruits purchased at local markets. From our bungalow, there were over 270 routes within a 20-minute walk. We spent cool mornings weaving through stalactites and hot afternoons slurping shakes on the beach. Paradise.
By: Chris McCullough
I first met Adventure Scientists Executive Director and Founder Gregg Treinish in January 2013 while working for Seattle-based K2 Sports. Gregg had been a longtime user and advocate of K2’s Madshus touring ski brand. From our first meeting it was quickly evident that Gregg, a visionary with an insatiable appetite for adventure, was someone with a mission, need, and a network. We offered him product support and strove to share his organization’s message across our brand platforms.
Three years later I joined Croakies, a Jackson Hole and Bozeman-based outdoor accessories brand. Our manufacturing facility is just down the street from the Adventure Scientists headquarters in Bozeman, and we were pleased to recognize another opportunity for brand and organizational alignment. We began by weaving Adventure Scientists into our existing Conservation product collection, as well as outfitting the organization and their adventure volunteers with the latest Croakies gear to support their work. After some organizational introspection we then investigated solutions to improve our product and supply chain. That’s where the hard work began.
By: Emma Bode
Adventure Scientist Emma Bode has collected microplastic water samples around the world, including in her own backyard of Bozeman, Montana. She won our #GallatinSampling Instagram contest for best collection photo and will be receiving a Peak Design Messenger Bag to take with her on her next adventure.
I began volunteering with Adventure Scientists in the fall of 2015 on the Gallatin Microplastic Initiative, the first study of its kind. At the headwaters of the Missouri River, the Gallatin Valley provides a superb opportunity to observe the effects of urbanization on a pristine watershed. Teams of two sample four times a year along a section of the Gallatin River or one of its many tributaries. A force of over 60 volunteers make it possible to collect 70 samples during a ten day period.
By: Gerrit Egnew and Kirra Paulus
The moment when our boats first touched water - after seventy hours of travel - was intensely gratifying. This summer, noting that there was a dearth of data in Nepal, we sought to use our particular river skills to take water samples in places few people can go: the wild, frothing upper reaches of the rivers of Nepal.
Our water samples are well-traveled. They have moved hundreds of miles downriver by kayak and raft, transported across several countries in rig bags and backpacks, taken rides in rattling taxis, buses crammed with people, and multiple planes across nearly all of Nepal, circling the globe, before finally arriving in Maine. It's funny, in a way, what it takes to move a liter of water from one particular place to another very specific place. Each water sample seems insignificant on its own, hardly worth the effort to isolate and transport it. But every sample is a small piece of data, each a sentence in a much bigger story of global microplastic pollution.
By: Amy Freeman
My husband, Dave, and I just spent a whole year in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to raise awareness about the threats of proposed sulfide-ore copper mining within its watershed. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the BWCAW is a 1.1 million acre federally designated Wilderness Area in northern Minnesota. That’s Wilderness with a capital “W.” The region is a maze of lakes, rivers, wetlands and roadless forests—a paddler’s paradise.
It is also the most popular Wilderness Area in the country, receiving about a quarter of a million visitors annually. We teamed up with the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters to keep the beloved BWCAW on peoples’ minds for an entire year, sharing the experience through photos, blog posts, articles and social media. We were thrilled to have the chance to collect water samples for Adventure Scientist’s Global Microplastics Initiative along the way—adding samples from wilderness lakes along the Minnesota, Ontario border to their database. We also gathered water quality data for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Story & photos by Jordan Snyder and Martina Sestakova
It was our second day out and we had over six miles of open water traverse ahead of us. We clawed our way directly into oncoming waves, wind, and a flood current as the elements battled to restrain us. Waves washed over our 21’ tandem sea kayak as it crept across the Gulf of Mexico, making no more than two miles per hour of slow and challenging forward progress.
We were paddling from Jewel Key to Pavilion Key in the 10,000 islands area of the Everglades National Park, Florida. This was our first wilderness adventure in the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states.
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