Changing Planet

The Inspiring Way Adventures in the Field Are Driving Innovations in the Lab

By Andrew Howley of Adventure Scientists

This year at the Aspen Ideas Festival: Spotlight Health, just a few days after joining his fellow Nat Geo Explorers at the 2018 Explorers Festival, our founder, Gregg Treinish, had the opportunity to speak via Facebook Live about what our organization is doing to connect scientists in need of data from remote areas with members of the adventurous outdoor community who have the skills to get that data for them.

We’re doing this not just for the sake of enhancing a traveler’s experience, or adding extra points to a well-charted map. We aim for every measurement and every sample to contribute vital information towards addressing the world’s most pressing challenges in conservation of land, plants, animals, and human health.

In the video below, Gregg and host Fred Durst of IDEO address topics including why it’s valuable for us to work with adventurers, the shortcomings of designing projects just for the education of volunteers, and the importance of taking time to pause and make sure you’re where you really want to be and doing what you really want to be doing. They also reveal some of the projects Adventure Scientists is working on next.

Gregg Treinish, Nat Geo Explorer and founder of Adventure Scientists, speaks at the Aspen Ideas Festival: Spotlight Health

Later on during the festival, Gregg took to the stage with Ashlee Earl of the Broad Institute and Sarika Bansal from BRIGHT Magazine to discuss the power of outdoor adventurers to gather the data for tackling some of the biggest challenges in human health specifically.

Through an ongoing partnership that has previously narrowed the search for the genes responsible for antibiotic resistance from thousands to just 126, Adventure Scientists and the Infectious Disease Institute at Harvard Medical School have teamed up to pursue a novel approach to eliminate this premier global threat to modern medicine. By engaging bold volunteers around the world, we’ll continue to narrow this search, and help expeditions in the field to power innovations in the lab.

If you’re inspired to join us, you’re in luck. Our current projects include collecting bigleaf maple leaves to build a genetic database to thwart illegal logging, and recording observations of butterflies in the backcountry to help reveal the true status of biodiversity in the U.S. mountain states, and both are actively accepting new volunteers throughout the summer.

 

 

 

Gregg Treinish founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 with a strong passion for both scientific discovery and exploration. National Geographic named Gregg Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He was included on the Christian Science Monitor's 30 under 30 list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with Adventure Scientists. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine "hero", in 2015, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and one of Men's Journal's "50 Most Adventurous Men." In 2017, he was named an Ashoka Fellow. Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004. Read more updates from Gregg and others on the Adventure Scientists team at adventurescientists.org/field-notes. Follow Adventure Scientists on Instagram @adventurescientists, on Facebook @adventurescientists, and on Twitter @AdvScientists.

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