Tag Archives: The Nature Conservancy

Volunteer Shell Game

Cliff Walk Tree(photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

There are a number of great things happening in this story out of Newport, Rhode Island (which happens to also be one of my favorite places). In that city by the sea, there’s an ongoing effort led by the Nature Conservancy to restore oyster beds in coastal ponds and estuaries. All by itself, that’s a fantastic thing, as it will go a long way towards improving and restoring those fragile and important ecosystems. Also great is that the effort involves a number of local businesses, restaurants who are donating oyster shells to the Conservancy. This group of restaurants is donating thousands of pounds of used oyster shells which the Conservancy, along with its volunteers, will return to the shoreline. It’s another exciting example of environmental organizations, volunteers and area businesses working together to preserve and protect the local natural habitat.

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Crowdsourcing for Invasive Species

ID-1005975Photo by Liz Noffsinger, Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Robert Barossi

This is one of the most exciting and fascinating volunteer stories I’ve come across recently. I had never even heard of eco-crowdsourcing until now, but in this day and age, modern technology being what it is, it makes perfect sense. As this story details, there is a project underway in Hawaii that allows volunteers to use an online crowdsourcing platform to pinpoint invasive species. By pouring over images taken from above, these volunteers are able to tag locations where invasive species are occurring, which gives organizations like The Nature Conservancy an exact location to focus their efforts. The work of these volunteers amounts to “20% of the users do 80% of the work, spending hours on the platform, scouring images for the invasive plants,” according to the article. There is exciting potential in this kind of crowdsourcing, from mapping invasive species to helping protect endangered species, and it’s clear evidence that not only can today’s technology help achieve environmental goals, it can and must be an essential and integral aspect of achieving those goals.

The page specifically for the initiative in Hawaii, called “The Hawaii Challenge,” can be found here, at Tomnod