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AAC to Lead Environmental Expedition to Peru's Cordillera Blanca

4:00 a.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "AAC to Lead Environmental Expedition to Peru's Cordillera Blanca"

The American Alpine Club is leading an environmental mountaineering expedition to Peru’s highest mountain range, the Cordillera Blanca. Mountaineers and scientists will collect soil, water, snow, glacial ice, and air samples to determine environmental impacts.

Full article at http://www.trailspace.com/articles/2011/04/02/cordillera-blanca-environmental-expedition.html

8:43 p.m. on April 8, 2011 (EDT)
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The AAC does not notify me of any contributions to the CBEE2011. So to check on whether this approach to support for the expedition is effective, please email me at bill@trailspace.com to let me know if you have supported this environmental cause.

9:31 p.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The direct URL to the donation page is https://americanalpineclub.org/donation . Be sure to select "Cordillera Blanca Environmental Expedition 2011" at the pull-down for directing the donation. Filling in your name and address will ensure that the tax receipt gets to you.

5:11 a.m. on April 21, 2011 (EDT)
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A wonderful initiative, you describe above.

I had been a keener hiker, than I am today, but I have been thinking lately, on how environmental mapping, analysis and sampling can be incorporated into hiking, an how this could be done by any lay-person. Through different hiking clubs, I have experienced again and again, among menbers, a signifficantly hightened level of environmental awareness, -to put it simply: most hikers I met, were nature-lowers. At the same time, universities, institutes and government agencies have always been overwhelmed by their work-loads, and it was those hikers, that had strong faworite areas, who became the only real "experts", for such areas. Their nature observations often filled numerous notebooks, but this knowledge never got passed into any other public database.  

Some may claim, it takes a trained professional and a keen statistician, to design a science-worthy sampling campaign. I dissagree. Especially on environmental side, with just a loose connection with a varsity,  institute, or environmental NGO, hikers can cover thousands of sampling points, which will be very informative, and can, if nothing lese, at least lead to follow-up sampling campaigns, by trained professionals. Something  similar, I saw once, called Grassroots Mapping, but it was confined mostly to visual observations.

Especially, as finaces and environemntal constraints lead most of us, to go hiking locally, many of us can become  higher-level "environmental experts" on our own, very local environment. We can then pass our discoveries onto intitutions, or onto media, when alarming facts are found. Some equipment, training and standardization will of course be required. For myself, I think of hiking my gold-mine dominated neighborhood with a Ph meter and sample each and every stream. I bet, my findings will be news-worthy. 






1:05 p.m. on April 21, 2011 (EDT)
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You are right that "ordinary hikers" (if there is such a thing) can be trained to help immensely in environmental sampling and observation. In fact, that is one of the major things we are doing on the Cordillera Blanca Environmental Expedition 2011 - training local climbing guides, porters, muleteers (the guys who help pack gear in on mules for trekkers and climbers), and others in continuing the research, along with training local Peruvian scientists in the climbing aspects.

You mention mining - my team will be concentrating on the southern end of the region, with the large town of Huaraz at the mouth of the valley and the Anta Mina (a huge copper mine) on the other side of the range (Amazon side). These industrial areas, plus global climate change, are having a serious effect on the Andes.

The CBEE2011 is doing this on a shoestring, and we are short of funding - several participants have had to pull out because of the shortage of funds. So every little bit helps. Hopefully more people will be inspired to make even small donations.

12:51 p.m. on June 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Only a couple days left until I am on the plane for Peru and the Cordillera Blanca Environmental Expedition 2011. The expedition is still short of its financial goals (we are at 75% of the original budget), but I do want to thank the couple of Trailspace members who have made contributions. We have had to cut back on some of our goals, and are dependent on post-expedition fundraising to cover the analysis of the samples.

You can still donate at http://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/cbee2011 - even small contributions help. The AAC is a 501c3 organization and provides a receipt so you can take a tax deduction. As I said earlier, all the donations through the American Alpine Club go toward the scientific studies, including equipment that will be donated to the local Peruvian scientists who will be continuing the studies. None goes toward supporting the American scientist-climbers (we pay our own airfare, food, and personal gear).

1:57 p.m. on June 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Good luck, Bill.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who will want to read you trip report after you get back.

April 24, 2014
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