Times are tough. Sometimes I think I should sell the farm, pack my jalopy, and head out west for a better life. Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, but the fact of the matter is that tough economic times have limited opportunities that were once available under more forgiving circumstances. For students in the Conservation Biology Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota, this means fewer opportunities to enrich our graduate school experience. In particular, sharing our research with the broader scientific community at professional conferences has become more of a challenge if not downright impossible. In years past, students in my program could rely on a once dependable pot of money to help lessen the financial burden of traveling to professional conferences. I remember brighter days when requesting financial support was as simple as sending an email. These comforts of a more financially secure time are but a mere fantasy in the face of today’s harsh realities.
Tough times call for tough solutions because money never comes easy. Sure we could have a bake sale or a car wash but those approaches are trite and overdone. More importantly, selling cookies and washing mini-vans is not very hardcore (usually). Why not try something incredibly challenging that could possibly destroy our morale, or at the very least, be entertaining to others? A great challenge requires an equally challenging solution. We have been forced to extreme measures all in the name of Conservation Biology.
Mark your calendars! June 1st through the 4th is our second annual Bike Across Minnesota Fundraiser! Students up for the challenge will ride their bicycles from the western border near Fargo and head east until reaching the shores of Lake Superior. Our planned route through treacherous northern Minnesota will take us over 400 miles from start to finish, assuming we live to tell the tale.
Of course, we see no point in attempting this feat without some financial motivation for our efforts. If you believe in the research conducted by graduate students in Conservation Biology and you believe that sharing that research at professional conferences is important, please donate to support our cause. Or if you’d prefer, you can donate in the name of ridiculous athletic endeavors. Either way, we’re happy to accept any donations. Last year, Conservation Biology graduate students gave over 105 presentations at professional conferences. With your help we hope to continue this strong record for the 2012-13 academic year.
You can find additional information about the ride and a link to donate on our website. Also, don’t forget to check out our fancy youtube video prepared especially for this year’s ride. If you want to learn more about our program and the type of research conducted by our students please visit the official website for the Conservation Biology Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. Thank you for your generosity!
Bike Relay Coordinator and Graduate Student
U of M Conservation Biology Graduate Program