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Students Invited to Explore Protected Areas for 2014 Thacher Environmental Research Contest

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies is pleased to invite U.S. high school students to participate in the 2014 Thacher Environmental Research Contest. This annual contest allows students the opportunity to show off their science and technology skills by submitting research projects focused on the use of remote sensing data and analysis tools.

In the past year, the nation has dealt with a number of environmental disasters, including many events, such as the California Rim Fire, causing massive damage to protected areas. The California Rim Fire not only destroyed over 250,000 acres of forest near and in Yosemite National Park, but also destroyed homes and businesses, while impacting air quality conditions hundreds of miles away. As part of the effort to extinguish this enormous fire, scientists and government officials used satellite data and other remote sensing assets to plan mitigation strategies, predict weather conditions in the area, and identify potential risks. With millions of acres of protected land in our country, what are the best ways to utilize remote sensing technologies to ensure these areas stay safe for future generations?

As part of this year's contest, high school students are expected to tackle this difficult question, while exploring the past, present, and future of U.S. protected areas. Students are asked to identify a U.S. protected area of interest, and design a research project that identifies why the area is unique, why it significantly contributes to our society, how this area has changed over time, and ways remote sensing and geospatial tools can be used to monitor these environmental treasures.

"2014 is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act and a great opportunity to celebrate this landmark legislation through the Thacher Environmental Research Contest," said Theresa Schwerin, IGES Vice President, Education. "Wilderness lands exist within our national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and Bureau of Land Management lands – all because of this legislation which protects these important national resources for future generations."

Participation is open to all U.S. students in grades 9-12. Entries may be submitted by individuals or student teams. Three cash prizes will be given, with the first place student or team receiving $2,000. In addition to prizes for the winning students, the teachers of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entrants will receive a $200 Amazon.com gift card. Entries should be postmarked to the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies by May 5, 2014. For full contest rules and to enter, please visit http://www.strategies.org/ThacherContest.

About the Contest

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 Foundation/U.S. This contest has been held annually since 2000.

About IGES

Located in Arlington, Va., IGES was established in 1994 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported by public and private entities. IGES is a trusted leader in Earth and space science education, communication and outreach, and in fostering national and international cooperation in Earth observations.

RELATED LINKS:
http://www.strategies.org/ThacherContest

SOURCE Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

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