SIX Reasons to Back This Research!
1) Protect Forests Near You! Preventing or limiting invasive species introductions is the best way to conserve the integrity of our current forest ecosystems. Discovering plant killing microorganisms, like many Phytophthora species, before they are accidentally spread to our forests will enable us to regulate and control their movement. Additionally, once discovered, these microorganisms can be researched. For my project in South Africa, I want to conduct pathogenicity studies with the species we find in our surveys. With these studies, I want to determine which plant species are susceptible to the species of Phytophthora we recover from the surveys. Thus, determining which forest species will be most at risk if the microorganism is accidentally spread.
2) Further Educate South Africans! Participating in citizen science initiatives is a great way to learn. I will conduct workshops and lead sampling parties to teach South African citizens about forest diseases and the causal microorganisms. I will involve students from high-schools, community colleges and other universities in the laboratory portions of the project. I will also give seminars about using crowd funding and citizen science for biological research applications. I recognize mentoring as a clear way to make a positive impact on the planet and I think there will be many opportunities to mentor young students through this project.
3) Stay Tuned-In! By backing this project you will be able to keep track of the progress of the project through regular open access lab-notes (such as this one). I will commit to regularly posting lab-notes about the progress of the project for the three years I am prepared to devote to this project! If you back this project, I will have a way to keep in contact with you and share updates and photos of the progress.
4) US Dollar > South African Rand! Currently, South African Rand is much weaker than the US Dollar. R 1 = $0.08, 1 Rand is 8 cents USD (http://www.exchangerate.com). However, in South Africa, everything is cheaper than the US.
A train ticket from Pretoria to Capetown is R630 ($51.23), which is a bit longer than traveling from Seattle, Washington to San Francisco, California. Wouldn't it be nice if it was only $50 to take the train from Seattle to San Francisco? Also, If you look at this fancy menu from Capetown, you will see an iced cappuccino is R29 (~$2.40) and a cheeseburger and potato wedges are R75 (~$6.20).
The point is that, the $5,000 USD (my goal) will go further in South Africa than it would in the United States.
5) Support Me! By backing this project, you are supporting me! During this experience, I hope to learn to use citizen science programs to answer hypothesis driven questions. With that knowledge, I want to come back to the US to collaborate with scientists, start new programs, and involve US citizens in valuable scientific research.
6) Get a Bumper Sticker! Finally, number 6! If the project is funded, I am offering to print and send out bumper stickers to anyone who pledges greater than or equal to $20.00 USD. Make a pledge and continue showing your support for citizen science with this awesome bumper sticker!
Thank you for checking out this lab-note!