Five years ago this month, I was working in New Orleans with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an organization that acts as a watchdog towards the oil and gas industry in Louisiana. April 20th of 2010 marked a turning point in my life, and the lives of many others, as we rapidly had to figure out how to address the largest oil disaster in U.S. history. The end of April 2010 also marked an opportunity for me to meet several of the other soon-to-be co-founders of Public Lab -- Jeff Warren, Stewart Long and Adam Griffith -- and launch a large-scale project to spur community engagement by mapping the oil disaster from the ground up.
Well, we all know what became of that project. The Public Lab nonprofit is taking April 6 through May 6 (the day the first aerial map of the BP disaster was completed) to reflect on the event that prompted our community science movement to be born and to celebrate the work and progress of the Public Lab community in making science accessible, affordable and engaging.
In honor of our 5th anniversary, our goal is to raise $1,500 through our Sustaining Member program between today and May 6. These funds help us keep the lights on and servers running and support our core effort of working with communities on innovative solutions to environmental problems. As a THANK YOU to everyone who contributes, we’re offering $5 off all memberships during the campaign, so there’s no better time to get that great Public Lab t-shirt you were eyeing.
Thanks again for your past support and your future consideration. I’m looking forward to the next five years! Shannon
Here’s some great activities planned for the next month:
Today, April 6th at 1pm ET: Join OpenHour for a virtual roundtable on peer-to-peer learning.
April 6-May 6: Co-founder Liz Barry is coordinating a series of videos from the Public Lab community, starting with her own: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uja-kVqZcm4. Join in and submit a reflection on your experience, all which will be compiled for release on May 6th. May 6th update: Thanks for all the contributions! Check them out in the comments section of the research note linked above.
April 18: Join a pole mapping event in New Orleans from 11am to 4pm for a first look at the new aerial mapping pole now available in the Public Lab store.
April 20: Take a moment to visit Gulf South Rising and check out ways you can participate in the April 15 to 22 week of action in commemoration of the BP oil disaster.
May 4: The Public Lab nonprofit will provide funding to individuals interested in hosting local meet-ups in conjunction with the May OpenHour to help us wrap up our 5th birthday in style! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
May 6: The five year commemorative Grassroots Mapping Forum will be available both online and in print. May 6th update: Grab a print copy of the Forum in the Public Lab store or check out the articles, now available online.