#Scifund Round 3 is underway and each day I will highlight a new proposal from the Challenge to give you a more in-depth understanding of each participant and their research.
Today I present Audrey Joslin. Her research looks to understand how Payments for Ecosystem Services with regards to water services affect labor practices in the targeted area.
Tell us about yourself, where you are from, and where you see yourself going.
My name is Audrey Joslin, and I am a PhD student in Geography. The geographic answer is that I was born and raised at 45°33′52″N 93°13′42″W (Cambridge, MN), study at 30°36′05″N 96°18′52″W (Texas A&M University) and am doing my research at 0°00′00″N 78°09′22″W (near Cayambe, Ecuador).
To answer in another way, I am a very curious person who is fascinated with the world and the people in it. I am concerned about the environment, and also with issues of social justice. I see people as a part of nature, and am intrigued by how people interact with and shape their environment. I enjoy learning languages, and speak both Spanish and Portuguese at an advanced level. During my MS degree, I studied the social aspects of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. I switched my focus to the high-altitude grasslands and water management during my PhD because of how important this ecosystem is to the well-being of people, and how overlooked it tends to be in the academic research.
How did you get involved in your research project?
As a geographer, I like to read about interesting places. I saw a few photos of the paramos, and I decided that I wanted to learn more. After reading quite a bit about the humid grasslands, I discovered that this ecosystem was the target of several Payments for Ecosystem Services programs, with the most advanced and influential being the Quito Water Fund (FONAG). I became curious.
Why is your research important to you? Why should others fund it?
There has been almost no research on the social aspects of this program, even though it has been in existence for 12 years. It is regarded as an example of success by the United Nations Environmental Programme, The United States Agency for International Development, and The Nature Conservancy. Yet, there has been nearly no research about how this program interacts with people’s lives that are the target for intervention.
Why did you decide to participate in the SciFund Challenge?
I thought SciFund e was an excellent opportunity to raise some much-needed funds. I have learned that it is a challenge to find funding for lesser-known but equally important ecosystems as the Amazon rainforest.
More than that, I thought it would be a good opportunity to receive training in presenting my research to a broad audience.
What was the most difficult aspect of building your SciFund Proposal? What was your favorite?
My favorite aspect has been receiving encouragement from fellow Scifunders, and trading feedback and experience with them on the proposal. That said, the most difficult aspect of the proposal has been creating the video. This is the first that I have ever created.
Tell us something random. Something funny. Something borrowed. Something blue.
The Spectacled Bear is the only species of bear found in South America, and it calls the paramo home! They are notoriously shy, but I hope to see a wild one someday.
Thanks Audrey for sharing your science! And to save you time from scrolling up, you can read about her project and contribute here.