ASC teams up with the Wilderness Classroom to study water quality and bird migration in the name of science and adventure
For the past three years, Dave and Amy Freeman have been trekking across North America on an 11,700 mile odyssey, during which they’ve traveled via dogsled, canoe and kayak. In the third and final 5,000 mile leg of the journey, Dave and Amy have partnered with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation to contribute data to two studies as they kayak the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean on south to the Florida Keys.
When they’re not collecting data for ASC, the Freemans operate Wilderness Classroom, a Minnesota-based program designed to educate young students about wild ecosystems through live presentations and internet seminars from remote locales. According to Dave, the program participants tend to respond to the adventure aspect with enthusiasm.
“The teachers use scientific data that we collect like temperature or miles traveled, and they’ll use that for graphing exercises, but I think the students like the animals and the sense of adventure, like the sled dogs. Those types of things are the hooks that really get the kids excited. It’s a good way to incorporate reading and math and critical thinking and all sorts of basic skills that come along with that,” Freeman said.
Diatoms help explain a changing climate
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation has mobilized their athletes in the pursuit of new discoveries, new data, and even new species in the high mountain wildernesses of the Northwest. Dr. Loren Bahls curates the Montana Diatom Collection and is utilizing ASC volunteers ranging from serious trekkers to casual day hikers in his pursuit of information on these important single-celled organisms. Diatoms, which are located in nearly every aquatic environment imaginable, are photosynthetic microbes possessing cell walls made of silica dioxide (glass). Information about diatoms is extremely useful to scientists attempting to glean information on environmental conditions on global as well as local levels.
Dave and Amy Freeman have been traveling the USA with the Wilderness Classroom. They have participated in several projects including using secchi disks to sample water turbidity and monitoring banded gulls. They were in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy staying with friends and posted this blog detailing their experiences. For more information on the Wilderness Classroom visit wildernessclassroom.org.
Last Saturday and Sunday we helped Bill and Carmen Stage, the owners of New Jersey Kayak, prepare their kayak shop and marina for Hurricane Sandy. We used dozens of ropes to lash down kayaks, motorboats, docks, tables, and anything else that wasn’t bolted to the ground. As we were driving back to Bill and Carmen’s house a police officer informed us that their neighborhood was being evacuated. Luckily their friends, the Richies, invited us to stay with them. We quickly packed our bags and drove to the Richie’s house on Sunday night as the winds began to increase.
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