A World Citizen Science Project for Protecting Coastal Wetlands and Cities

A view of the marsh off Ossabaw Island, one of Georgia's "Golden Isles"

A view of the marsh off Ossabaw Island, one of Georgia’s “Golden Isles”

I am a Professional Geologist who has a long interest in coastal wetlands. Not only have I frequently visited Georgia’s coastal areas, but I have also spent considerable time in the Gulf Coast States, particularly Louisiana.  I have launched a Kickstarter  project to raise money to help fund my presentation of a poster at the Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration (CEER 2014) that will be held in New Orleans from July 28-Aug 3. You can see the entire Kickstarter project at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hoveysmith/citizen-science-wetlands-restoration-project or watch the video below:

The purpose of the poster that I will present at the CEER conference is to launch a world citizen science project to investigate various methods of constructing low costs offshore flexible barriers using salvaged waste materials. As an attention-getting example of inert waste materials that might be used to form these barriers, I chose heavy, embossed bottles produced by Louisiana Spirits who distills two varieties of Bayou Rum. These bottles were selected because of their attention-grabbing value when placed on a scientific poster and are used to illustrate only one of a large number of inert waste materials that might be used to make these barriers. Once the barriers are in place, oysters would become established on the hard substrate which would serve to strengthen the structure. In addition, the quieter water behind the barriers would allow sediment to collect and natural vegetation go help rebuild offshore islands and marshes.  Instead of being degraded once they were emplaced, these structures would actually grow stronger because of the growth of native organisms. The more serious nature of this project is to initiate a world citizen-science investigation of potential inert waste materials that might be gathered locally and used to make low-cost flexible protective structures. These citizen scientists would initiate their own pilot projects, study them and report their results to a central database. Then, this information would be made available to researchers in any interested state or nation. I am seeking $2,800 to finance my attending the conference and take the initial steps to protect the project’s intellectual property, design the database and publish the results in a quarterly newsletter. This project will close on May 31, 2014,  and if the funding goal is not met, no one who pledged will be billed. This is my third Kickstarter project. To start one you go to http://www.kickstarter.com/ and there they have a template to take you through the steps of initiating a project. They strongly recommend that you produce a video describing the project as well as a compelling written description. The key steps are the project’s name, purpose, how it will be implemented, when it will be completed, what rewards will be given to backers, when these will be delivered, and the fund-raising goal. If the goal is not achieved, no backer is charged and the project initiator receives no money. This is very much a go or no-go event. I hope that you will not only take a look at this project, but think seriously about how this might be useful to help promote your activities. I would also like to request that you become a backer of my project that will allow anyone to participate in a needed scientific investigation and possibly make a significant contribution to solving the real problem of helping to prevent damage to the world’s coastal lands and  cities. By tapping the world’s brainpower, whether individuals hold university degrees or not, there is the potential of making some surprising discoveries in science and engineering.

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