Hello all -- we wanted to briefly announce a new initiative in partnership with ioby, a locally-focused crowdfunding platform.
We've been looking for ways to help local, site-specific projects raise funds, both for long-term monitoring, and to develop new tools and techniques for environmental data collection. These projects provide a window into some of the most vibrant independent place-based research in the Public Lab network, revealing environmental issues of high priority to local residents -- issues which government or industry have often overlooked.
The partner page, titled “Community Science with Public Lab” features five flagship projects:
- Mystic River Open Water: Mystic River Open Water is building an open-source, DIY water quality monitoring network. (donblair)
- Refinery Flare Monitoring: We are constructing observation stations to monitor refinery flares continuously and remotely. They will provide an inexpensive, easy to construct, and reliable remote flare observation station that provides usable data. (This project relates to the newly-announced Knight Foundation-funded Homebrew Sensing Project) (danbeavers)
- Put the People in the Picture: Barataria Wetlands Co-Monitoring: As attention fades from the BP disaster, residents who depend on the Barataria Bay marshes need to monitor their wetlands. Your contribution empowers communities to monitor the impacts of BP's oil. (eustatic)
- Gowanus Low Altitude Mapping: Gowanus Low Altitude Mapping (GLAM) is a volunteer-driven initiative to create detailed aerial photos of the Superfund-designated Gowanus Canal, using cameras and balloons. (Gowanus Canal Conservancy)
- Parts and Crafts at Somerville Public Schools: Nine 5-week courses, including: Intro to Computer Science, DIY Environmental Monitoring, and Intro to Electronics. (partsandcrafts)
Please take a look -- we hope that these will be the first of many!
Featured project of the week
Each week, we'll be featuring one of the ioby projects, and our first will be the Refinery Flare Monitoring project posted by Dan Beavers. This exciting proposal seeks to develop and install a series of prototype 24-hour monitoring stations based on the Public Lab spectrometry kit to attempt to identify contaminants such as heavy metals in gas refinery flares, as shown below.
This is an exciting application of open hardware tools to an urgent environmental problem -- contaminants being vented immediately adjacent to residential communities! -- and we are eager to see what the Gulf Coast Public Lab community is able to accomplish. If round-the-clock monitoring were truly affordable, gas refineries could be held accountable for what they vent so close to populated areas.
Please consider contributing today to get these monitors built and installed!