16 Oct '13, 11am

Drift catchers use citizen science to fight pesticide pollution

Drift catchers use citizen science to fight pesticide pollution

When Laura Krouse heard the roar of a crop duster as it flew low, ducking under utility wires to lay down a blanket of herbicides, she sprang into action. Working deftly, she set up a small air vacuum resembling a clothes hanging rod close to her field of vegetables, corn, and hay, not far from where the plane was spraying the neighbor’s 10,000-acre farm. There, it would inhale samples of the air to later be tested to see if the chemicals were drifting onto her land. Upon seeing Krouse, the pilot circled low enough that she could see his face. His expression read, Just what is that you’re doing, Laura? “He was checking on me,” Krouse says, “and if anyone dare ask, I’d tell them straight out that I’m taking air samples.” Krouse, who for 25 years has run the 72-acre Abbe Hills Farm in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, is a drift catcher, a toughened breed of farmers who are taking matters c...

Full article: http://grist.org/food/drift-catchers-use-citizen-science-...

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