The Event: Make for the planet
Hackers, coders, makers, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and tinkerers, celebrated Earth Day weekend 2017 by creating solutions to challenging conservation problems in front of a global audience! Multidisciplinary teams competed in an on-site event called Make for the Planet over three days of the Smithsonian Institution's Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, D.C. (April 21-23, 2017). Teams had access to a pop-up maker's space with equipment to create prototypes and models of hardware and/or software solutions to specific conservation problem.
What: Make for the Planet is a team competition/hackathon to create hardware and/or software solutions to specific conservation challenges. Teams worked to solve global conservation challenges through creative and transformative solutions that harness emerging science and technology, entrepreneurship, and design.
How: Conservation X Labs provided conservation challenges two weeks before the event and global conservation experts pitched the problems on the first day of the Earth Optimism Summit to kick-off the event. Teams had until the morning of April 23rd to create solutions for display in a science-fair setting for viewing by judges, the public, and other Smithsonian Earth Optimism attendees. Solutions were presented as a physical or digital representation and more than a written explanation or pitch. Teams created solutions for one of the proposed conservation challenges using the equipment provided on-site over rather than bringing a pre-baked solution.
Who: The first Make for the Planet event in 2017 hosted 16 multidisciplinary teams. There are no restrictions on age, occupation, education, or gender.
When: The inaugural Make for the Planet occurred during the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, D.C., over Earth Day weekend, 2017. Interested in hosting a Make for the Planet event? Contact us HERE to partner with Conservation X Labs on a future Make for the Planet.
What is your conservation challenge?
Suggest the next conservation challenge! We plan on hosting more events in the future. What is your greatest conservation challenge? What do you want to see solved? Please submit your suggestions below.
April 2017 Make for the Planet Conservation challenges
Meet the conservation experts who presented the challenges to the teams during Make for the Planet in April, 2017.
1) Maximizing Food, Minimizing Catch? Tackling Overfishing, Wastage, and Market Inefficiencies in Our Seafood Systems. Find ways for small-scale fishers and/or buyers to “recapture” this lost fish with solutions that address the lack of fisheries data, cold storage options and market access.
2) Tracking of Movement of Small Animals in Forest Ecosystems: The Search for a Flexible, Affordable, and Effective Solution. This challenge seeks flexible, field-ready solutions that enable ecosystem-wide and simultaneous tracking of multiple individuals of several small vertebrate species in dense forest ecosystems and that collects and integrates data on why, where, how and when animals move throughout ecosystems.
3) Ecosystem Services: The Nature We Need. Develop solutions that will measure ecosystem services consistently across large areas, measure the cultural and spiritual value of ecosystems, and connect people with ecosystem services.
4) City Limits: Halting the Entry and Spread of Invasive Species. The challenge seeks innovative approaches for the early detection of and the rapid response to invasive species introduced through ports of entry in urban environments.
5) Prevent plastic from becoming marine debris in the oceans. The challenge is to stop the flow of plastic waste to the ocean in key, top-polluting locations (China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam).
Meet the Teams
Sixteen amazing teams participated in Make for the Planet during the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism Summit, April 2017.
Melissa Guardaro, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University (ASU)
Jason Sauer, Environmental Life Sciences, Liberal Arts & Sciences, ASU
Alexander Routhier, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, ASU
Yuliya Dzyuban, School of Sustainability, ASU
Candice Sheehan, Mechanical Engineering and Marine Science, Duke University
Jason Wang, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, Duke University
Alex Weck, Environmental Engineering, Duke University
Henry Quach, Mechanical Engineering, Duke University
Francesca Fernandez, Accenture
Michael Munn, Accenture Analytics
Fode Youla, Accenture
Shannon Barrow, Accenture
Lu Sevier, Booz Allen Hamilton - Software Development, AidData Alumna
Hannah Dempsey, ORISE intern at EPA, AidData Alumna
Justin Mezetin, Software Developer
Patrick Drake, Biostatistician, Center for Disease Control
Green Eggs and Sam
Sam Kelly, Mechanical Engineering, Duke University
Ashley Blawas, Biomedical Engineering, Duke University
Ashley Ericson, Mechanical Engineering, Theater Studies, Duke University
Carmen Hoyt, Marine Science and Conservation Leaders, Duke University
Courtney Greenley, Social Scientist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources
Brandon McKee, Special Projects & Legislative Assistant, U.S. House of Representatives
Matt Deal, Engineer, MTSI; Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Leadership Fairfax Emerging Leaders Institute
Emily Hanson, Data Governance Lead, Columbia Sportswear; DGIQ, PROSCI
Meghan Tierney, School of Sustainability, ASU
Dana Paz, Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Erin Wallin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Computer Sciences - alumnus
Micaela Connors, Computer Sciences & Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Henrik Cox, Mechanical Engineering and Visual Arts, Duke University
Kelsey Evezich, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University
Steven Burcat, Mechanical Engineering and Economics, Duke University
Jacob Baca, Duke University
Linh Anh Cat, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California-Irvine
Rhea Dorris, Kimley Horn and Associates
Kristi Ray, Nova Southeastern University, NASA
Lauren Shum, Electrical and Computer Engineering | Energy Engineering, Duke University
Sun Devils for Sustainability
Tyler Dolyniuk, Civil Engineering and Business Management, ASU
Abrahm Coury, Barrett the Honors College, Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, ASU
Mahinalani Wing, Barrett the Honors College, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, ASU
SiennaRae Walker, Mechanical Engineering, Barrett Honors College, ASU
Stew Stremel, Entrepreneur, Ligtwell.biz
Jeff Davis, Entrepreneur
Bob Vogt, Software developer
Team Red Panda
Peter Moran, Electrical Engineering, Duke University
Matt Snider, Ecology & Wildlife Conservation, North Carolina State University
Adam Cullen, Mechanical Engineering, Duke University
Anna Miyajima, Computer Science, Duke University
The Brothers from Barrett
Cameron Starostecki, Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Management, ASU
Zachary Kalinowski, Biomedical Engineering, ASU
Aaron Schierbrock, Aerospace Engineering, ASU
Joseph Briones, Computer Science and Pre-Med, ASU
The Mighty Morphin Innovators
Aleah Deptula, School for Engineering of Matter, Transport & Energy (SEMTE), Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), ASU
Hunter Talbo, SEMTE, EPICS, ASU
Briana Avila, Psychology, ASU
Isabel Villasenor, SEMTE, Chemical Engineering, ASU
Leila Hadj-Chikh, Dunbar Security Solutions
Ali Bhalloo, Civil Engineering and Urban Planning, ASU
Kevin Nikolaus, IRIS PASSCAL, Polar Field Engineer
Deepak Sathyanarayan, Mechanical Engineering, University of Virginia
Three Engineers and a Planner
Jesus Gomez, Computer Science, ASU
Luis Cervantes, Chemical Engineering, ASU
Oscar-Armando Orozco, Architecture, ASU
Paulina Gomez, Biomedical Engineering, ASU
Judging: Make for the Planet, April 2017
Two panels of judges ranked solutions based on the following criteria.
- Transformative: Game-changing solution for conservation
- Innovation and inventiveness of the solution
- Conservation impact
- Quality of the pitch
First Round Judges
A distinguished panel of first Round Judges selected the top four conservation solutions. The four teams pitched their solutions on the Earth Optimism stage on April 23rd during the Pitches for the Planet session.
Final Round Judges
The four Final Round Judges awarded prize money to two teams after the top four teams pitched their solutions during the Pitches for the Planet session on April 23rd.
Solutions and Results
Congratulations to all of the teams! They created incredible displays of solutions in a short period of time. Teams presented a physical representation of their solution -- a model, a drawing, a diagram, a prototype, etc. See the images below for short descriptions of the teams' solutions.
Re-live the experience in this 360 degree video of the teams displaying their solutions at Make for the Planet on April 23 (credit: Andrew Thaler).
The four finalists were BioDEVersity, Green Eggs and Sam, Paw 2017, and Terramedics. The Judges awarded the two cash prizes to BioDEVersity and Paw 2017.
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