Congressman Jared Polis toured NEON headquarters, heard short presentations and participated in a town hall discussion with NEON staff on Earth Day, April 22, 2014.
Presentations focused on recent airborne data collected following the floods in Boulder, CO, and a current research collaboration with Colorado State University on the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, CO. The collaboration and consequent research is the first time a comprehensive airborne remote sensing system of this caliber has been used to enhance research on wildfire causes and impacts. The wildfire research collaboration is supported by a National Science Foundation RAPID grant. Rep. Polis also learned about NEON’s contributions to science education and citizen science through programs like NEON’s Project BudBurst.
A town hall discussion with NEON staff centered on the roles that open data and science literacy play in enabling the United States to make better informed decisions in the management of our environment.
Rep. Polis and NEON share several priorities, including working toward solutions to addressing climate change impacts and the importance of science education, particularly for underrepresented populations. Once NEON is fully operational in 2017, the data and observations it produces will in part help evaluate and predict the impacts of climate change and contribute to the development of scenarios related to adaptation and mitigation of climate change.