Engaging citizens through social media is a must now for a number of causes, be it user-generated content in news media, using Facebook groups to organize and facilitate political protests, or to raise money for creative projects through sites like Kickstarter. A volunteer organization based out of the Oakland, California area is looking to expand into the realm of citizen-engaged and crowdsourced science.
In September of last year, fire blazed across the Bay Area’s Mount Diablo. Over 3,000 acres went up in flames as the wildfire spread across the mountain.
While images of the fire are alarming for observers and locals in the area are forced to await possible evacuation orders, the fires are actually a natural part of the mountain’s ecology, and many of the plants actually require fire to reproduce, according to Nerds For Nature.
Realizing the potential to study how the landscape changes and grows in the year following a large blaze such as the Morgan Fire, the group behind Nerds For Nature decided to photograph the scenery from four fixed locations over the course of a year.
But how to fund that research? The hours of labour and equipment and travel to the photo spots would no doubt cost a pretty penny.
This is where the ingenuity of this group came from – in an age of social media and camera phones, why not crowdsource it? Well, that’s just what they did.
A photo, by Twitter user @DanKalb, taken from photo spot #2 on Mount Diablo.