Crowdfunding forest ecology?

“And if three whole people, why not — four? And if four whole people, why not–more, and more, and more….” – Snoopy and the Peanuts

There has been much recent discussion on the role of crowdfunding in scientific research (for example, see here and here).  Crowdfunding is the public funding of projects or ideas of organizations or individuals, typically via the internet.  Described as “sort of a combination of venture capitalism and social networking” by the bloggers at Jabberwocky Ecology, several organizations have emerged to support this funding model for the scientific community (e.g., Petridish, #SciFund Challenge).  What role will crowdfunding play in science research funding?  How important will this funding source be in the future?  Will it shape the way some science is done?  Will it lead to greater interaction between scientists and non-scientists?  The verdict is still out on these and other questions, but at a minimum it seems like a fun way to potentially fund small projects and engage the public in scientific research.  So…..a student in our research group has decided to give it a try….

Michelle Spicer cores a tree in the Lehigh Experimental Forest.

Michelle Spicer, a graduate student in earth and environmental science at Lehigh University, is currently part of the third round of the #SciFund Challenge.  Her proposed research is focused on understanding the ecological history of the Lehigh Experimental Forest, a plot of land overlooking Lehigh University that was systematically planted with various tree species as a forestry experiment back in 1915 (see this previous post for details).  However, the experiment was forgotten about by the 1950s and Michelle hopes to assess the outcome today… a century after it was planted.  In particular, she hopes to conduct a thorough survey of the present-day vegetation, compare the present-day vegetation with what was originally planted, and determine the history of forest changes using tree rings and aerial photographs.  Her video proposal is embedded below…if you like it, head on over to Rockethub to view the rest of the details and, if you like, contribute to its success!  Even $1 or $5 contributions add up, and as a funder she will keep you informed of her research activities and results as they emerge.

Click here to view more of Michelle’s proposal


Snoopy and the Peanuts images from “Snoopy! The Musical

Posted on November 12, 2012, in Ecology (EES-152), Original Posts, Research and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on In the Forgotten Forest and commented:
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