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Geospatial Conservation Contest For High Schoolers

Tim Smith

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From the AFS message board

From the massive Gulf oil spill to the continued decline of Arctic sea ice,

satellites and other observing instruments have proved crucial in the past

year in monitoring the many environmental changes -- both natural and

human-induced -- occurring on global, regional and local scales.

The 2011 Thacher Environmental Research Contest, sponsored by the Institute

for Global Environmental Strategies, challenges high school students (grades

9-12) to conduct innovative research on our changing planet using the latest

geospatial tools and data, which in recent years have become increasingly

accessible to the public.

The best projects will receive cash awards in the amount of $2,000 for first

place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place. Entries can be

submitted by individuals or teams. In the case of team entries, the cash

award will be split equally among the winning team members. Winners also

will be featured in an Encyclopedia of Earth article.

In addition to the student prizes, teachers of the first-, second- and

third-place students or teams will receive a $200 amazon.com gift card. If

participation is part of an after-school club or other activity independent

of school, the student or team can identify an adult "coach" who would be

eligible for this award (e.g., a parent, club leader, etc.).

Entries must be received by April 11, 2011, and will be judged by IGES


Eligible geospatial tools and data include satellite remote sensing, aerial

photography, geographic information systems (GIS) and Global Positioning

System (GPS). The main focus of the project must be on the application of

the geospatial tool(s) or data to study a problem related to Earth's


Geospatial tools and data have numerous uses in science research, ranging

from climate prediction to archaeology. They can be used to improve our

understanding of Earth systems, including interactions within and among the

atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere. They also can be used to

improve the quality of our lives by supporting weather prediction, natural

hazards monitoring, agriculture, land-use planning, coastal management,

transportation, public health, emergency response and other fields.

The Thacher Environmental Research Contest (formerly the Thacher Scholars

Award) was founded in honor of former IGES board member Peter Thacher, who

was a leader in promoting the use of satellite remote sensing. Thacher was

former deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Program,

NASA advisor and, at the time of his death, president of the Earth Council


For more information on the 2011 Thacher Environmental Research Contest,

including a list of resources for geospatial data, please visit




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Dan Stillman

Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

(703) 312-7138 (Phone)

(703) 312-8657 (FAX)

Email: dan_stillman@strategies.org

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