Want to know how gravestones will weather due to pollution?   Can you help measure hailstones?   If so, or you are wondering what else one person can contribute to solving global climate issues, controlling the spread of invasive plant species or managing severe weather risk, EarthTrek is for you.

EarthTrek is a new worldwide program developed by the Geological Society of America and an array of national and international partners to provide a new tool allowing concerned citizens  to collect data that will provide answers in understanding our planet

Communities everywhere are being invited to participate in real scientific projects led by scientists from a wide range of institutions. As individuals, families, clubs or school groups, people can register to trek into various environments and collect data according to protocols set by project lead scientists. Projects will focus on environmental issues in which community involvement at local, regional, and/or global scales is key to understanding.

Participants log their data online, adding to a pool of knowledge with other “EarthTrekkers” around the world. Scientists maintain contact with project assistants so that each knows how their contribution is helping to understand the issue, and how the data will be used to make future decisions. Participants are rewarded online—with statistics, certificates, and other incentives.

Along with the EarthTrek project to measure the thickness of marble gravestones, or the distance between marble and lead lettering, so that scientists can create a worldwide map of how gravestones are weathering due to pollution levels and, of course, that climate change buzzword, a project is now underway that has participants identifying and measuring the location of the Garlic Mustard plant in the northern hemisphere, and comparing growth in its native Europe to its invasive spread across North America.

European partners include Naturfagsenteret–Norwegian Centre for Science Education, Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (DGG), and The Geological Society of London. EarthTrek is an activity associated with the International Year of Planet Earth.  EarthTrek enrollment is open now, and the first science projects will commence on 1 July 2009.

Learn more at http://www.goearthtrek.com/.