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Published:August 18th, 2011 13:37 EST

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation: An Update on This Extraordinary Organization!

By Tom Ski

For the past month, we have been watching and studying the fantastic people who have become part of the ASC - Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. We have offered each and every one of you a list of the amazing projects that the ASC is involved in and the numbers of scientists and adventurers who have come together to discover, study, and try to save the planet!     

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), opens people up to the most amazing studies and expeditions that are completed all across the world; from Wolverine studies to Grizzly Bear studies that are ongoing, ASC has the ability to bring in the nature-loving heroes " and team them up with fantastic scientists, in order to delve into and study the natural world.     

You and I have spoken about the incredible ASC vision, and their intense dedication to saving our natural resources for a few weeks now.  We have highlighted various projects, as well as the partnerships of scientists and adventurers coming together to share their unique skills and talents in order to gain knowledge and improve our deteriorating environmental conditions across the globe.  This week, I want to talk with all of you about some of the truly remarkable ongoing projects and expeditions that ASC has.  If you`re a hiker, biker, pilot, tracker, mountaineer "ASC has something waiting for you.

Recently, in the New York Times, the ASC was spoken about by introducing adventurers who embrace their Inner Nerd " in order to help the planet around them.  These adventurers love being a part of the ASC and working with scientists to study the land and the animals in order to save and clean up the planet.   

The article focused on a variety of different explorers and adventurers, including people from Montana, who backpacked the length of the Andes Mountains for nearly two years, traversing the rocky spine of South America on foot.  The experience of these two explorers included piecing together a makeshift route that was made up of all different types of centuries-old Incan trails and paths carved by inhabitants of remote mountain villages.  After this journey made by the duo in 2008, the National Geographic Society named them Adventurers of the Year. "    

Connecting explorers with scientists is the foundation that ASC thrives upon.  Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) does everything from recruiting athletes and outdoorsmen and women, to putting them into all locations across the land, allowing them to collect valuable scientific data on some of the planet`s most remote ecosystems.  Every single one of the ASC projects is organized by combining the outdoorsmen and women with the help of scientists who analyze all the data that is found by the adventurers as they hike the world.  Volunteers keep these amazing programs running, and continue to go in-depth to investigate various animals, flowers, vegetables, and locations in order to better understand the world around them.  

There are many projects that are run by ASC including a study of bar-headed geese; a group of birds that accomplish the extraordinary feat of migrating over the Himalayan mountain range twice a year, flying between their wintering grounds in southern Asia and their breeding grounds in the central Asian highlands.  These birds have even been spotted over the summit of Mt. Everest, where oxygen levels are only about 1/3 that of sea level.  Scientists have already revealed that "bar-heads` have several adaptations to help them perform at these altitudes:  They have larger lungs and more efficient breathing patterns than other birds; and, they also have adaptations in their blood and blood vessels that help them load oxygen and deliver it to flight and heart muscle.      

This study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first time physiological measurements will be made on this species while flying under conditions of low oxygen, like those experienced during their migration.

In addition to these experiments, ASC scientists and collaborators hope to gather more data about how frequently these birds fly over the highest summits of the Himalayans.  And, through ASC, hiring on an explorer or adventurer, lets their contribution to the project be the logging in of sightings of these geese (and other high-altitude birds along the way).  To participate in this particular study, all adventurers simply contact for more information.

Now, there is also the Microbe Collection, which is comprised of high-altitude mountaineers across the globe who study above 20,000 feet.  In this particular study, ASC needs high-altitude mountaineers to collect small rock samples.  The samples will then be analyzed by a microbiologist at Montana State University, extracting DNA from the microbes found on the surface of the rocks the mountaineer uncovers.  Small rocks are needed from all over the world, and for adventurers to participate in this study, all they have to do is contact:

In another place, working with the Craighead Institute, hikers, mountain climbers, and others will be "drafted` to conduct an international study on pikas.  These small mammals are an important species in understanding the effects of climate change, and the ASC goal is to recruit an army of outdoor enthusiasts to record data related to a pikas presence or absence.  For this study, adventurers need only to contact:

One of the most interesting studies, at least for this writer to herald, is focused on Wolverines.  With this particular study, volunteers have the opportunity to assist in a more thorough documentation of wolverine populations on the Gallatin and Helena National Forests.

The primary objective of this project is to identify as many individual wolverines as possible, through the collection of DNA samples.  A secondary objective is to document wolverine habitat use patterns and travel routes.  There are actually two methods of data collection that adventurers will use, including:  Back-tracking of wolverine trails to search for scat and hair samples in order to document wolverine travel routes and behaviors; and, hair-snaring devices that will be set up and monitored in backcountry locations.

Volunteers must be skilled in winter backcountry travel and survival, avalanche awareness, map-reading, and route-finding.  By providing valuable information on the numbers, distributions, and behavior of wolverines, this project will assist wildlife and land managers, as well as conservation organizations, in efforts to conserve wolverines and their habitat in the Rocky Mountains.  This study is an absolute interesting world, and for adventurers who wish to participate, the ASC contact for this study is:  

There are absolutely so many different studies that offer the world a better look at animal and natural locations across the country, that ASC is building up their wealth of adventurers every single day!  From mountaineers to glider pilots to recreational adventurers who wish to learn, study, and help our natural world - ASC has brought together a treasure trove of individuals to work with their scientists to help protect and "better` the world in which we live.   

As I have said before, and I will say again, gang - no one is left out!  ASC works with several conservation organizations to design, recruit participants, and implement citizen-science programs.  And ASC taps into everybody from outdoor enthusiasts to professional adventure athletes who visit remote locations on a regular basis.    

Joining this stellar organization NOW is a chance to offer your support to one of the most amazing organizations on the planet.  The world has been slightly jaded, people, as we all know.  And things have gone a bit sour as technology has grown and harmed nature in the process.  Now it is time for us to celebrate the natural world in which we live, and make sure that we can restore the health and well-being of one of the most beautiful "gems` in creation - Earth!   

Until Next Time, Everybody!   

For more information, go NOW to: